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Thread: New York City Noise Code

  1. #61
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    "You talkin' to me?" Long Island. But my neighborhood looks a lot like Queens.

  2. #62

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    I didnt know if you lived in the city or father east. Anyways, what does "Fugeduboutit" mean? anything besides the actually meaning im thinking of "Forget about it"? Not just asking you fioco, but also anyone else...?

  3. #63

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    "Fugeduboutit" is highly nuanced. It can mean, for example, "you're welcome." Or it can mean "don't even bother." It obviously depends on the context in which it is used.

  4. #64

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    People complaining about noise in New York should go move to the

    middle of nowhere kansas somewhere. That is the beauty of this city,

    its bustles with life at all hours.

    No one ever said this was an easy place to live, if they don't like it they

    should move.

  5. #65
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    I would agree with you if the complaint was simply against the hustle and bustle of a vigorous city, but noise at the level of harmful decibels is just that -- harmful. Not only that, but it is possible to create an environment that mitigates unnecessary and harmful noise. In the 1980s most New Yorkers accepted the harshness of the city as inevitable, but today we know that's not true. We don't have to accept filthy (crime-ridden) streets and a trip to an ATM does not need to be a date with danger. The general quality of life in the City has improved immensely over the past 15 years, and we should anticipate further progress.

    If a NIMBY wanted the piece and quiet of my West Virginia childhood then I would recommend that they move to the country. But even the country can be quite noisy at night -- and not only because of cicadas. Efforts to address noise and light pollution are slowly coming to the fore and if they are handled reasonably (stress reasonably), all of us are the better for it.

  6. #66

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    January 27, 2005

    It Can Be an Annoying Jingle, Mister Softee Concedes at Hearing

    By WINNIE HU

    He was the star witness, and had come before the City Council to speak on one of the Bloomberg administration's more controversial proposals. With the news media closely watching, James Conway Jr., the scion of the family that founded Mister Softee, had an admission to make: the Mister Softee ditty, a staple of urban summer, could be so annoying that even he would not want it playing outside his house all day.

    "Does it get stuck in your head occasionally?" he said. "We hope so. But the Mister Softee song as a threat to the health and welfare of New Yorkers? I don't think so."

    The jingle, with its lyrics, "Listen for my store on wheels, ding-a-ling down the street," has become a flashpoint in the debate over revising the city's noise code. From dogs that bark too long to nightclubs that draw neighbors' complaints, the administration wants new restrictions, but it found wide-ranging opposition at yesterday's City Council hearing.

    Also speaking out against the administration's plan was the New York Nightlife Association, which contended that some of the city's hottest nightclubs would become sitting ducks for a newly empowered noise police. And a coalition of labor unions protested that picket lines and demonstrations could also become easy targets.

    These critics say that while they are not opposed to updating the code, the current plan is too vague and could impose an unnecessary expense and burden on many businesses while doing little to combat problems like early morning construction and noisy smokers gathered on the street.

    "In the real world, the current code is a joke, and this is worse," said David Rabin, the co-owner of the nighclub Lotus and president of the nightlife association.

    In a city with no shortage of complainers, excessive noise in any form - the ricochet of jackhammers, the thumping of club music, the drone of air-conditioners - has long fostered complaints. The Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the noise code, receives an average of 3,500 complaints a month.

    David B. Tweedy, the agency's acting commissioner, said the city wants to reduce sound levels by adopting more enforceable regulations on construction, air-conditioners, and bars and clubs that play music, among other things. To encourage cooperation, he said, no penalties would be levied for a first offense if the person or business agreed to make changes to comply with the code.

    In addition, enforcement officers would be allowed to issue violations for "plainly audible" sounds coming from commercial music establishments, personal audio devices and exhausts on cars and motorcycles. Currently, they are required to register potential offenses on handheld decibel meters, which they say require frequent adjustments and are prone to error.

    "This proposal provides a flexible approach to address the No. 1 quality-of-life complaint," Mr. Tweedy said. "And balances the need for construction, development and nightlife with the need for peace and quiet enjoyment for the city's residents."

    But several council members expressed skepticism about the plan and pledged to vote against it. Councilwoman Margarita López, who represents the Lower East Side and the East Village, said the new regulations could be used to harass businesses and called the plan "a threat to the economic development of my community."

    While the four-hour hearing was packed with critics of the city's plan, there were also many supporters, including frustrated residents and members of a group known as Noise, which is short for Neighbors Against Noxious Odors, Incessant Sounds and Emissions.

    But it was Mister Softee that drew the most interest. Councilman Charles Barron of Brooklyn told Mr. Tweedy: "You and the mayor are very bold taking on Mister Softee. You're going to traumatize a lot of children in this city."

    Mr. Conway said that the current plan would not only silence the 347 Mister Softee trucks that operate in the city but also disappoint more than 120,000 customers. Instead, Mr. Conway proposed a compromise: stop the music only when trucks are parked for a certain length of time.

    Anything more, he said, would cause sales to plummet.

    "To get a sense of what this would do to us, remember when you were a kid," he said. "You heard the jingle, you grabbed your money and you ran to the truck. The way you knew Mister Softee was in the neighborhood was the song."

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  7. #67

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    I dont think they should take the Jingle off the Mr. Softee trucks. Thats a little ridiculous if you ask me. Its just a tune playing on a truck. I mean, it may get annoying but if you get annoyed that easy..well.. Just my opinion!

  8. #68
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    It's not so much the jingle, as it is the fact that the trucks are usually parked in one location for extended periods of time (like ALL day at 6th Street & 7th Ave in Park Slope). If they are going to stay parked - then rent a storefront and pay taxes.

  9. #69

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    I agree with that point, if they stay stopped they should turn the bells off. But, when roaming around the bells should play, that lets people know they are in the area.

  10. #70
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    ILUVNYC, I commend your efforts to be reasonable and fair, but once you move to the city you'll realize that Mr. Softee only sells ice cream when the trucks are parked. I can handle a few minutes of an annoying tune but not an endless cycle of the ditty over and over and over and over again. Once you're living here, you'll have an experience to draw upon. Even the city that never sleeps needs a cat nap from time to time.

  11. #71

  12. #72

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    December 14, 2005

    That Jingle of Mr. Softee's? It's the Sound of Compromise

    By WINNIE HU


    Laura Pedrick for The New York Times

    In the war between the mayor and Mister Softee, the mayor blinked.

    A year and a half ago, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sought to rid city streets of that staple of New York summers, the Mister Softee jingle. Howls of protest ensued. Testimony was taken from Mister Softee executives, and several city lawmakers questioned the idea. "You're going to traumatize a lot of children in this city," one proclaimed.

    And in the end, the jingle prevailed.

    The Bloomberg administration will allow the ice cream trucks to continue playing the sprightly ditty while trolling for young customers. But under a compromise with the City Council, the jingle must be halted when the trucks are not moving.

    The administration's plan to ban the jingle was the most intriguing element of an ambitious citywide noise crackdown, which was intended to curb a wide array of everyday nuisances like blaring music, barking dogs and noisy air-conditioners.

    Under a proposed agreement with the Council, the mayor's noise-control measures would largely be carried out, with a few concessions. One potentially far-reaching change to the current noise code would allow police officers and noise inspectors to use their own ears to judge excessive noise instead of relying on cumbersome meters to measure decibels.

    The agreement would also impose stringent time limits on barking dogs; if they don't stop within 5 minutes late at night, or 10 minutes during the day and early evening, their owners can be cited.

    Noisy sanitation trucks would be bannedfrom collecting garbage within 50 feet of a residence between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. And most construction projects would have to stop overnight, except for emergencies, public safety work or where the builder faces undue hardship like financial penalties.

    The Council will take up the mayor's revisions to the noise code today at a hearing of the Environmental Protection Committee. Assistants to the mayor and the Council said yesterday that the legislation is expected to be approved when the full Council meets on Dec. 21 for the last time this year.

    "There clearly has been a lot of progress, the only question is, is it enough?" said Councilman James F. Gennaro, the committee chairman. "Many people have legitimate concerns about the bill. We will find out whether those legitimate concerns have been adequately addressed."

    The sudden turnaround on the noise legislation caught many council members and lobbyists by surprise. The changes had languished in the Council since January, when a contentious hearing solidified opposition among some council members, Mister Softee executives, labor unions, the construction industry and nightclub owners.

    During the hearing, James Conway Jr., of the family that founded Mister Softee, acknowledged that the ice cream jingle could be annoying, adding, "But the Mister Softee song as a threat to the health and welfare of New Yorkers? I don't think so."

    The noise legislation is the last major item remaining on the mayor's legislative agenda from his first term. Members of the mayor's staff have complained that it was blocked by Council Speaker Gifford Miller, a mayoral candidate who initially pledged to address the issue. These aides say that Mr. Miller was loath to hand the mayor a victory during the election campaign.

    At Mr. Miller's direction, the long-stalled legislation began moving again around Thanksgiving after the Council renewed negotiations with the administration. Several council members said yesterday that Mr. Miller, who must leave office this month because of term limits, is seeking one final accomplishment.

    But Robert S. Bookman, the lawyer for the New York Nightlife Association, criticized the Council for rushing through the legislation before the public had a full chance to weigh it.

    "We're now on the right track," he said. "The process is starting to work. It should not be cut short. There's no midnight deadline here. No one's going to turn into a pumpkin."

    Mr. Conway, the Mister Softee representative, said that he was pleased with the compromise that would allow his jingle to continue playing across the city.

    He said that banning the jingle entirely would have devastated the business.

    "If you're in your house and a truck drives by, maybe you hear it, maybe you don't," Mr. Conway said. "To me, this is a classic example of democracy in action."

    Ed Skyler, the mayor's director of communications, said that the noise problem remained a priority for Mr. Bloomberg. "Noise is the No. 1 quality-of-life complaint in the city," he said. "And this comprehensive overhaul of the noise code would make the city more livable."

    As for Mr. Softee, the city is big enough for both of them.

    "The mayor always said he was open to negotiating aspects of the bill," Mr. Skyler said.

    * Copyright 2005The New York Times Company

  13. #73

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    December 22, 2005

    City Noise Code Gets Stricter; Fancy Meters Will Aid Ears

    By WINNIE HU

    New York City's nightclubs and bars will face tougher restrictions on how loudly they can play their music under the city's new noise code, which will also equip many police officers with noise meters for the first time.

    The final version of the long-stalled noise code, which was approved unanimously yesterday by the City Council, calls for nightclubs and bars to keep their sound level below 42 decibels instead of the current standard of 45 decibels when measured inside a nearby residence.

    The restriction would also apply now to bass sounds, and the accompanying thumps and vibrations that can be just as annoying.

    "The overall focus is protecting people's peace and quiet in their homes, especially as the city becomes more mixed use," said Emily Lloyd, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, which will oversee the code.

    Ms. Lloyd compared the difference between 45 and 42 decibels, 3 decibels, to sitting next to someone who goes from silence to speaking loudly on a speakerphone.

    In a concession to the nightlife industry, the noise code will also make it more difficult for police officers on the street to cite nightclubs and bars for noise violations. Currently, officers can issue a violation to a nightclub if they simply determine that the music constitutes "unreasonable noise."

    But now officers will use a noise meter to measure the offending sound in order to meet a specific, technical definition of unreasonable noise: 10 decibels or more above ambient sound in the daytime, and 7 decibels or more above ambient sound at night, when measured at a distance of 15 feet.

    The noise meters, which cost about $2,000 apiece, are now in short supply with an entire precinct often sharing one device, but city environmental officials said the goal was to equip each police patrol with its own meter. The noise code takes effect in July 2007.

    The changes are part of an ambitious noise crackdown proposed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, which aims to bring a measure of audible relief to New Yorkers by silencing, or at the very least muffling, everyday sounds ranging from the Mister Softee jingle to the clatter of air-conditioners.

    The noise code will impose stringent time limits on barking dogs, restrict overnight construction and ban sanitation trucks from collecting garbage near homes at night.

    In one potentially far-reaching change, known as the "plainly audible" standard, the law will allow police officers and noise inspectors from the environmental agency to use their own ears to judge noise violations for moving objects like car stereos and motorcycles.

    The mayor's noise-control legislation, the last major item remaining on his first-term agenda, had languished in the Council for more than a year, in part because of vigorous opposition from Mister Softee executives, nightclub owners, union officials and others.

    Mr. Bloomberg's aides had also complained that it was blocked by Council Speaker Gifford Miller, a mayoral candidate, because he was loath to hand his rival a legislative victory.

    Last month, at Mr. Miller's direction, the legislation began moving again as both sides of City Hall came together to work out their differences.

    In another compromise, the Bloomberg administration backed off its earlier plan to ban the jingles of the Mister Softee and other ice cream trucks altogether from city streets. Instead, the jingle can now play as long as the trucks are moving, but must stop when they do.

    The Bloomberg administration had initially proposed that nightclubs, bars and restaurants also be held to the plainly audible standard for moving objects, which would have allowed police officers to issue violations without the use of a noise meter.

    Currently, police officers can cite nightclubs without a meter if they determine unreasonable noise.

    Ms. Lloyd said the administration had dropped the proposal after the nightlife industry protested that the standard was too subjective. The administration also agreed to define what constituted unreasonable noise under the current standard.

    Ms. Lloyd added that Mr. Bloomberg has also favored using new technology to measure sound levels more precisely.

    "The mayor really felt very strongly that we should be moving toward more technology anyway," she said, "so the two things really came together and it was the pragmatic way to go."

    In addition, Ms. Lloyd's agency now has the discretion to waive the $3,200 fine for the first violation, if the owner of the nightclub or bar opts to spend the money for sound-reducing measures such as insulation.

    Robert S. Bookman, the lawyer for the New York Nightlife Association, called the changes a good compromise.

    "There was give and take," he said. "To the extent that people complain about indoor noise, this code is tougher and we gave in on that.

    "As for outdoor noise, which we don't believe people are really complaining about, we've got more objective criteria."

    Mr. Bloomberg yesterday hailed the passage of the new code, saying it would "make New York a quieter place to live and work by decreasing excessive and annoying noise."

    * Copyright 2005The New York Times Company

  14. #74
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    LOUD GRIPING

    NOISE IS APPLE'S TOP PROBLEM: POLL


    By CARL CAMPANILE

    July 13, 2006 -- Street noise is so out of control that frustrated and sleep-weary New Yorkers cite it as the Big Apple's No. 1 problem, a new survey has found.

    Horn-hunkers, blaring music, drunken rabble-rousers and other noise replaced potholes as the most vexing problem, according to the poll of 600 civic leaders conducted by Citizens for NYC/Baruch College.

    Neighborhood activists ranked litter as the second worst problem, the same as last year.

    "There's too much noise and too much litter," said Peter Kostmayer, president of Citizens for NYC.

    Kostmayer said that if half the drivers who needlessly honk their horns stopped, neighborhoods would be significantly more peaceful.

    "What we're talking about is unnecessary noise," he said.

    He blamed selfish behavior of violators - not the lack of government enforcement of noise abatement and anti-littering laws - as the principal problem.

    "I don't think horn-honking is the mayor's fault," Kostmayer said.

    Lower East Side activist K Webster said the noise comes from "the resurgent bar scene" in her neighborhood.

    "And the bars are the only places where violence has occurred," she said.

    The survey echoes the results of the city's 311 complaint line concerning noise.

    Kostmayer said the fact that New Yorkers are most worried about irritants like noise and filth is not so bad.

    Violent crime, for example, is barely on the radar - ranking a lowly 24th.

    And 47 percent of New Yorkers said their neighborhood had improved. Only 25 percent said they had worsened. The other 28 percent said the conditions were about the same.

    That's a significant improvement over last year, when 39 percent cited improvement and 32 said conditions had deteriorated. The rest said things were about the same.

    "The city is doing well. The fact that we're not talking about homicides, rapes and assaults says a lot," Kostmayer said.

    Each borough had its own pet peeves.

    In Manhattan, street noise, litter and air pollution topped the list.

    In The Bronx, respondents said lack of youth activities, drug dealing and illegal dumping were the top three problems.

    Brooklyn carped about a parking shortage, lack of youth programs and trash.

    Queens complained most about illegal building conversions, overdevelopment and lack of parking.

    Staten Island also griped about overdevelopment as well as potholes and dangerous streets.

    carl.campanile@nypost.com

    Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  15. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686
    Brooklyn carped about a parking shortage, lack of youth programs and trash.

    Queens complained most about illegal building conversions, overdevelopment and lack of parking.
    Two boroughs with some residents that want them to grow more suburban.

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