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Thread: New York City Noise Code

  1. #31
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Molding nightlife is not to be tolerated, IMO, but there is a big difference between 75 motorcycles tweaked to be as loud as possible simultaneously revving their engines down Houston St. at 3am and the closing of night clubs. The two ought not fall under the same ordinance.

  2. #32
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Sep 2003


    Quote Originally Posted by NYatKNIGHT
    Molding nightlife is not to be tolerated, IMO, but there is a big difference between 75 motorcycles tweaked to be as loud as possible simultaneously revving their engines down Houston St. at 3am and the closing of night clubs. The two ought not fall under the same ordinance.
    Then maybe there should be a few ordinances?

    Depending on level?

    If it is a complaint and it is up to the judgement of the cop, it should be a certain fee/penalty. If it is more than just an opinion, either by sound meter or however they want to delineate it, the penalties should be higher....

  3. #33


    Congrats, Gloomberg. You just gave me yet another reason to help vote you out next year. :lol:

  4. #34
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS


    Picture-Takers, Noisemakers and Evil-Doers

    Published: June 11, 2004

    Saw two foreigners the other day taking pictures of a building in Times Square. Don't know what country they were from. Their language was not recognizable. It certainly was not one you see in those "Learn English" subway advertisements.

    In truth, the two men seemed to be innocently taking pictures of each other, with the building used only as a backdrop. But who knows? All those smiles for the camera may have been a ruse to deflect suspicion. What if their real intention was to help some terrorist group locate the deadliest spot in that building to plant a bomb?

    Far-fetched? Maybe. But you can't be too careful these days. You have to wonder why the police do not require a special photography permit, so they can have a measure of control over who snaps away in a place as crowded, and possibly terror-prone, as Times Square.

    The same goes for St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and any number of other New York attractions that, for all we know, may be in the evil-doers' sights. By closely studying photographs, terrorists could improve their chances of finding vulnerable points.

    Prohibiting unauthorized photography in such prominent locations would seem a logical next step if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority carries out its proposed ban on picture-taking in the subway system.

    But let's not get carried away. Perhaps the ban is not a done deal. The transportation authority says it wants to hear public comment before making a final decision. It has already heard some loud Bronx cheers.

    Cameras in hand, dozens of photographers descended on the subways the other day to make the point that taking pictures on platforms or trains - something that has been done for 100 years - is not of itself a security threat. The subway-riding mayor has added his own skepticism.

    "If somebody's there with a high-powered camera at the front of the train trying to photograph switches and signal boxes, maybe there is something going on," Michael R. Bloomberg said recently. "But if there are some tourists and they want to take pictures of each other on the subway train - c'mon, get real."

    O.K., we'll get real. One predictable result of a photography ban, in the subways or elsewhere by logical extension, would be new possibilities for friction between the police and the public. Just what the city needs in a jittery age.

    Arguably, a similar point could be made about the mayor's proposed crackdown on noise offenders, a plan with broad appeal among New Yorkers who have long suffered the aural depredations of boom boxes, jackhammers, barking dogs, air conditioners, motorcycles and car stereos with a pounding bass that can scramble the brain. It would be left to police officers and other enforcement agents to judge for themselves whether Mister Softee has gone too far with that maddening jingle.

    One can already imagine the harmony that will flow once cops start writing those summonses.

    Are the police concerned? "The problem is when they're told, 'You fine this, you summons that,' " said Al O'Leary, a spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "The best set of circumstances is when police officers have the discretion to take action that their professional experience or common sense dictates to them."

    Got it. To repeat, one can already imagine the harmony that will flow.

    EVEN though noise has long been the top complaint to reach the authorities' ears, it may not actually be the main worry for many New Yorkers.

    Citizens for NYC, a venerable civic group that until recently called itself the Citizens Committee for New York City, issued a report yesterday on quality-of-life headaches, as seen by 125 leaders of community associations. "Dangerous intersections" headed a list of 27 concerns. "Too much street noise" was only third, behind "vandalism or graffiti." (Interestingly, violent crime was far down, in 21st place.)

    Besides, New Yorkers seem unable to agree which noisy irritant should be conquered first. Forget ice cream trucks, some say; go after horn-honking cabbies. No, others say, get movie crews off the streets. Still others hate dump trucks.

    Our favorite villains include the Gene Krupa imitators who bang on plastic buckets in subway stations, creating a racket that could strip enamel off teeth. We'd show you a picture of what we mean, but who wants to break the rules and risk abetting terrorism?

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  5. #35
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Manhattan - UWS




    AFTER 14 years of selling ice cream from a white panel truck, Gonzalo Zuniga doesn't even hear the music anymore.

    Although the bouncy tune plays over and over again, like some cruel punishment, Zuniga is as oblivious to the Mister Softee music as he is to the crowd of screaming children who line up near his bumper.

    Like a Pied Piper on wheels, Zuniga's truck is as popular for the famous jingle as it is for the Bomb Pops and vanilla swirl cones.

    "I don't even hear it inside here too well," Zuniga said, as the chorus of the familiar song played for the 14th or 15th time. "But I don't work with the music too loud."

    This week Mayor Bloomberg, in a loud bid to crack down on noise, singled out ice-cream trucks as being among the city's worst polluters.

    In addition to shutting up barking dogs and construction racket, Bloomberg's sweeping anti-noise plan would crack down on ice-cream trucks, banning the blaring of a tune perhaps only second in familiarity to the "Happy Birthday" song.

    It's enough to make ice-cream vendors want to scream.

    "Without the music, we can't sell the ice cream," Zuniga said as he parked near a park on West 144th Street in Harlem. "People won't hear us from inside the buildings."

    Besides, Zuniga said, people like him aren't the problem. It's the imposters, like "the Kool Man" trucks and "Mr. Soft Ease" who have adopted Mister Softee's street corner formula and added a few giant speakers on the roof.

    Ten blocks away, Cruz Gutierrez sold shakes from a Mister Softee truck. The only sound customers heard was traffic going by.

    "I don't need the music because the people here know me," Gutierrez said from his perch at Broadway and West 134th Street. He said the ice cream sells itself.

    Simone Dandy, a fan of both the music and the vanilla cones, said she would like to see some kind of compromise, sort of like how the chocolate and vanilla come out together.

    "If they could shut it off at a certain time, that would make more sense than getting rid of it altogether," said Dandy, a Harlem resident.

    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc

  6. #36


    New York Daily News
    June 13, 2004

    Nightmare of noise

    Planes, trains, sirens, radios - is nabe the loudest in city?


    James Mason tries to ignore screech of elevated A train as he barbecues at home in Hummel Houses in Queens.

    Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life" blares from an open window on the fourth floor. Dog barking echoes from a window higher up. And across the street, a man working with a sledgehammer shouts and curses in anger.

    It's a boisterous cacophony that could drive a neighborhood mad. But in the Hummel Houses complex in Rockaway Beach, Queens, it's the tip of the iceberg.

    "The planes come right over my house all night long," said James Mason, 61, who lives in a fifth-floor apartment with his wife and 10-year-old daughter.

    "It's so loud, it shakes the building."

    And that's not all. Behind Mason's building runs the elevated A train.

    With its assorted noises, the sprawling Hummel Houses nestled between the ocean and the tracks in the Rockaway Peninsula may be the loudest spot in New York.

    Some of the hubbub - blaring stereos, barking dogs and ear-shattering construction - is addressed by Mayor Bloomberg's campaign to quiet New York.

    But police and ambulance sirens, squealing subway cars and low-flying jets are not on the mayor's noise hit list unveiled last Monday.

    "The planes sound like they're going to crash through the building," said Sharon Wilkins, a sixth-floor resident. "I hear them when I try to watch a TV show, when I go to sleep and when I'm talking on the phone.

    "You learn to deal with it," she added.

    Just one sound bothers Sandra Clark, 39, who lives in Hummel with her five children.

    "The only noise that bothers me is the shooting," she said. "After seven years living here, you get used to the noise."

    Milagros Bermudez, 37, deals with the noise clamor simply by joining in.

    It was Bermudez who was blasting rock and dance tunes for hours last Thursday in her fourth-floor apartment.

    "The sound of the train is what I hate the most," Bermudez said, her voice barely audible over the blaring "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

    Inside Bermudez's apartment, her music reaches 107 decibels on a sound-level meter that only goes as high as 125.

    Outside, her music registers an 86. A normal conversation is about 60.

    "I rarely get a good night's sleep. It's never quiet here," she added.

    Mason, speaking over a passing train that registered a 96 on the noise meter, seems resigned to the loudness.

    "We have trucks. We have trains. And we have planes. We have everything." he said.

    "You try to cope with it the best you can because it doesn't seem like they're going to do anything about it."


    Decibel levels recorded in the Hummel Houses in Rockaway Beach, Queens,last week:

    107: Stereo music, measured inside apartment
    95: The A train rumbling by on the elevated tracks
    91: Ambulance sirens on Rockaway Blvd.
    90: Music in apartment measured from outside door
    85: Dump truck lumbering along Rockaway Freeway
    82: Music from fourth-floor apartment, measured from street
    77: Car alarm
    76: Barking dog
    73: Man hollering curses

    How loud is too loud?

    110 decibels: Regular exposure of more than 1 minute causes risk of permanent hearing loss.
    100: No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure recommended.
    90: Prolonged exposure can cause gradual hearing loss.

    Sources: National Institutes of Health and League of Hard of Hearing

    Think you live on the noisiest block in the city?

    Nominate your block and tell us your ear-rattling stories.

    E-mail us at or fax us, with brief comments, at (212) 210-2963.

    Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

  7. #37
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Manhattan - UWS



    June 14, 2004

    Mayor Bloomberg softened his stand on Mister Softee yesterday, telling ice-cream truck owners he might consider alternatives to a proposed ban on their "annoying" jingles.

    "When the proposal goes to the City Council, public hearings will be held, and if better ideas come up, we'll revise our approach," the mayor said during his weekly radio address.

    Last week, Bloomberg unveiled a plan to overhaul the city's 32-year-old noise codes, including a controversial ban on ice-cream truck music.

    "A lot of people are annoyed when a truck sits on a corner for hours and blares a jingle over and over again," the mayor explained.

    Bloomberg called his plan to curb noisy ice-cream trucks "practical and rational."

    But after much criticism, including complaints from Mister Softee executives who said the ban could put them out of business, Bloomberg appeared to be backing off.

    Mister Softee executives did not immediately return a call seeking comment yesterday.

    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  8. #38
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    But after much criticism, including complaints from Mister Softee executives who said the ban could put them out of business, Bloomberg appeared to be backing off.
    :roll: you just cant win bloomie.

  9. #39
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Sep 2003


    Well, maybe some of the people (myself included) that are SO FRIGGING SICK of hearing that damn:

    "Dink dink da dinkety dink da dink"

    tune OVER AND OVER AGAIN should have gotten off their arses and said something to support him.

    I have no problem with the Ice Cream man driving through the neighborhood, but parking in one spot and leaving the music on? If they stop, the music should stop as well.

  10. #40


    I have to say, you lot don't half have some BIG threads...

  11. #41


    ...I've seen such texts...

  12. #42



  13. #43


    June 20, 2004


    Put the City on Mute


    IN the city that never sleeps, there are a lot of people who are becoming deaf from the constant racket of our restless megalopolis. One need only walk the streets of Midtown to experience the deafening noise of honking taxis, screaming fire engines, commercial trucks equipped with eardrum-shattering horns and cellphone users shouting into their handsets (and my ear as I pass). So to "hear'' that Mayor Bloomberg is proposing to revamp the city's noise code is a step in the right direction, but his proposals do not go far enough.

    Now in my fourth official year as a New Yorker, I have learned to don earplugs to retain the vestiges of my hearing. Mind you, I'm 35, and assuming I have 50 to 60 years left in me, I want to at least keep my auditory nerves intact. Thus, to paraphrase the old American Express commercial, I never leave home without earplugs. (And it's worth the $50 investment for headphones with vinyl-hooded ear buds to keep out noise so you don't need to turn up the volume to drown out the city's din.)

    We'd all have fewer headaches if some of the sources of real noise pollution were tackled. First, the subway: Anyone who rides the trains knows the noise is unbearable, principally caused by the ear-piercing shrieks of the brake systems. Why can't the Metropolitan Transportation Authority invest in a noiseless system? If Detroit has the technology for cars, surely it exists for trains. Or why not use rubber tires like the Paris Metro does? I'd pay an extra $1 a ride for those noise-reduction efforts, as would most New Yorkers. If that's not viable, perhaps there's a way to spray a rubberized coating on the wheels to reduce the screeching noise of metal on metal.

    Second, emergency vehicles: Is it necessary for all sirens blaring on every response by the police, firefighters and paramedics? City drivers, with windows up and music playing, probably can't hear the sirens until an emergency vehicle is right behind them. Unfortunately, every pedestrian and apartment dweller nearby hears the sirens, but they are not the ones who should. Flashing lights seems to be effective in most cases. Perhaps rules should be revised for determining when and how to use sirens, (a toot or a honk would be sufficient to open a traffic lane). And the city should investigate switching to technologies that might direct the sound forward like a laser beam, as opposed to broadcasting the sound like radio waves.

    Third, cabs: The Taxi and Limousine Commission should enforce rules against needless honking. A traffic jam doesn't budge, even with the loudest horns honking. Since taxis charge peak-hour rates, perhaps their horns should automatically be silenced from 4 to 8 p.m.

    Fourth, commercial trucks - commercial trucks! The city could stop large trucks equipped with even larger horns at the bridges and tunnels. Posting signs and aggressive ticketing would help. Perhaps suing the truck manufacturers and fleet companies for destroying the hearing and mental well-being of New Yorkers could be considered. Something has to be done.

    Mr. Mayor, you've rescued my lungs from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke (thank you). Now, please save my ears. Then maybe one day I'll get to retire my earplugs.

    Joseph Dooley is the president of Dooley Associates, an investment bank.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  14. #44




    by Eric Konigsberg

    Issue of 2004-06-28
    Posted 2004-06-21

    Good schools, abundant day-care options, probably more discarded chicken bones per block than you’ll find in any other town: the relative lack of green space notwithstanding, it was possible, until recently, to consider New York City an excellent place for dogs. That may soon change, however, now that Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a series of new noise-control amendments. Along with curtailing the excesses of ice-cream-truck drivers and dub-reggae enthusiasts, his plan calls for an enforced limit of ten minutes—five minutes at night—when it comes to barking dogs. After that, a dog’s owner may be deemed in violation of the law and issued a ticket or a fine.

    “There have typically been a lot of dog complaints to the 311 line,” Jordan Barowitz, the Mayor’s spokesman, explained the other day. “Last month, for instance, there were eleven hundred and forty-nine calls under the category ‘animal noise.’ And then, let’s see here, ‘animal noise, chronic’: four hundred and fourteen. That month was a bit heavier than April. September, October, it’s very high. It drops in November, but it bounces back up in December. Maybe they get excited about the holidays.”

    Currently, the city’s noise code reads, “No person shall permit an animal, including a bird, under his or her control to cause unnecessary noise.” This, needless to say, is a little vague. “It produces problems from an enforcement standpoint,” Barowitz said. The city’s Department of Environmental Protection, which drafted the proposed legislation, examined the laws in several other cities before deciding on the ten-minute rule. Charles Sturcken, the D.E.P.’s public-affairs director, said, “Seattle has some of the more advanced measures in the country. Hawaii apparently has very quiet noise codes. Atlanta has a ten-minute-duration law anytime for barking, or up to half an hour for intermittent barking. Palo Alto, it’s also ten minutes. We thought that was reasonable.”

    Reasonable for people, maybe. To a dog, the ten- and five-minute limits might seem arbitrary, and a little harsh: even in dog years, five minutes of barking is thirty-five minutes, which falls just short of the standard therapeutic hour. What’s more, the Mayor’s proposal ignores the archetype of the barking dog as hero (“Lassie, Dad’s hurt! Get help!”), and the fact that raising a ruckus is what a lot of dogs have been bred to do.

    Some breeds are more vocal than others. According to a study published in 1965 by the animal behaviorists John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller, the lowest “threshold of stimulation” belongs to the cocker spaniel. A cocker spaniel puppy fighting with a litter mate over a bone barked nine hundred and seven times in ten minutes. The quietest dog in the study was the African basenji, which almost never barks (the most vocal basenji racked up twenty low-pitched “woof”s in the bone-fight test), a trait the animal is believed to have developed over many generations of hiding from leopards. Jean Martin, a basenji breeder in Tully, New York, says that she gets a lot of calls from New Yorkers shopping for a barkless dog. “Basenjis don’t bark, but they can scream. They can howl. And they can yodel.”

    It is not easy to stop a dog from barking. Though a recent study published in Science indicated that dogs may understand human language, in one case comprehending more than two hundred words, anecdotal evidence suggests that the phrases “Shut up,” “Knock it off,” and “Put a sock in it” are not among them. For that reason, counter-barking can be big business. Andrea Arden, a trainer, says, “I get probably two or three calls a day from people with a barking problem. They say, ‘You need to get back to me immediately. I only get one more warning, and then I’m out of my building.’” The most popular quick fix is a special collar that emits a spray of citronella oil whenever its wearer barks (it is activated by sound vibrations). “Those are fine,” Arden says. “But I’m worried people will resort to desperate measures—shock collars, tranquillizers, wiring the dog’s mouth shut. The absolute cruellest thing you can do is debarking—that’s when the vocal cords are cut. You hear about that a lot with beagles. I personally don’t know any vets in town who do that, but it happens. And I have no doubt that the noise restrictions will mean people start giving their dogs up to shelters.”

    “I’m sure I’ll be getting the calls,” said Darryl Vernon, a lawyer in midtown, who for twenty years has represented dog owners in all kinds of legal actions. “The landlords will say, ‘This is governmental ratification, and I’m going to use it to sue and evict dog owners and raise the rent.’ Until now, I’ve never had a client get a violation from the city for barking. It’s mainly for odors.”

  15. #45


    June 23, 2004


    Finding the Hard Sell Lurking Behind That Soft-Serve Jingle


    As the theme song for Mister Softee says, temptingly, "My milkshakes and my sundaes and my cones are such a treat."

    IF the experiment carried the whiff of danger, then so be it. Any venture into the deep unknown comes with an element of personal risk - a small price to pay, it seemed, for some answers about this cacophonous creature of confection lurking about the city. This, this Mister Softee.

    A couple of weeks ago, Mister Softee became the cream-cephalic public enemy for the Bloomberg administration's proposed crackdown on unwanted noise. Along with boomboxes and barking dogs, city elders seemed concerned about protracted exposure to the jingle emanating from the 250 Mister Softee ice cream trucks that lumber through the streets of New York.

    The recorded jingle, which pours out of high-powered horns mounted at the front of the trucks, is intended to lure the young and old from their bowls of sugar-free sherbet. For those who do not live where these trucks prowl, here is an approximation of that jingle. Duh-DUH-duh-duh duh-duh-duhduh-duh-duh-duh-duh-DUH-duuuh-duh. . . .

    Over and over and over again.

    Some people consider the jingle to be part of summer's symphony, evoking fond memories of cones melting too quickly onto the grimy mitts of howling children. Others, though, hear the repetitive music as the melody of the mad, conjuring thoughts of ice-cream-man dismemberment. Among these critics are urban purists who say the jingle drowns out the sirens, screams and truck beeps that give them peace of mind.

    James Conway Jr., the ice cream executive who speaks for Mister Softee, said he sympathizes with those who find the jingle intrusive. That is why Mister Softee has strongly urged its drivers to use the music judiciously. And that is why Mister Softee has hired a lobbyist to try to work out a compromise with the mayor and the City Council.

    "There is technology available that we can put on the trucks so that when the truck comes to a stop, the music stops playing," Mr. Conway said. "It would also be our intent to adjust volume levels. I think it's very reasonable that there should be limitations to the time of day and night that music can be played."

    But what about the jingle's effect on the drivers? "To be honest with you," he said, "when you spend five to six days a week, 9 to 10 hours a day, on a Mister Softee truck, you become desensitized."

    To monitor the effect of the Mister Softee jingle on the human psyche, your researcher developed a complicated jingle-immersion experiment, which he will now explain in layman's terms: Find Mister Softee truck; listen to jingle for long time; see what happens.

    On Monday afternoon, the first afternoon of summer, your researcher set out to find a jingle-playing Mister Softee truck. He drove north through Manhattan, eyes hunting the side streets for the distinctive blue-and-white trucks that look like the squat cousins of this city's public buses.

    He quickly deduced that Mister Softee trucks had already begun to fall silent, at least judging by the mute ones parked on the Upper West Side. He also learned that in the cone-eat-cone world of ice cream, there are Mister Softee pretenders who call themselves "Mister Soft." They have the same blue-and-white trucks, the same menu, the same everything, except for the familiar picture of an ice cream cone wearing a bow tie and a darn-glad-to-meet-ya smile: Mister Softee himself.

    Mister Softee is not one to melt under pressure, by the way. He's suing these Mister Softs for every last rainbow sprinkle.

    Your researcher's quest continued through Washington Heights, Harlem, Midtown, Lower Manhattan and then to Brooklyn, where he spied a Mister Softee truck jingling its way along Sackett Street in Carroll Gardens. But the truck got away when a light turned red.

    So began a Melvillian hunt along the south Brooklyn grid, man in obsessive pursuit of Mister Softee truck, personal safety be damned. Through Red Hook and back to Carroll Gardens, down Henry Street and up Clinton, all while that Godforsaken jingle, the bane of Bloomberg, tinkled, taunted - and gradually hypnotized. Everything went blank.

    Duh-DUH-duh-duh duh-duh-duhduh-duh-duh-duh-duh-DUH-duuuh-duh. . . .

    It could have been the music, or it could have been the ice cream truck's exhaust. Whatever the reason, the words to the jingle, written by some Philadelphia advertising company back in 1960, slowly took hold of your researcher's mind:

    My milkshakes and my sundaes and my cones are such a treat

    Listen for my store on wheels ding-a-ling down the street

    The creamiest, dreamiest soft ice cream you get from Mister Softee. . . .

    The truck pulled to the curb and the music stopped, but the spell did not. As the driver dispensed cones and shakes to customers, your researcher heard music in his head, and smiled at the thought of those people enjoying the creamiest, dreamiest soft ice cream of Mister Softee.

    Make that Master Softee.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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