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Thread: New York City Noise Code

  1. #1

    Default New York City Noise Code

    NY1
    June 7, 2004

    Mayor Proposes "Common Sense" Noise Code

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg Monday proposed reforming the city’s noise control laws to allow police to use their own judgment instead of a sound meter to crack down on the worst offenders.

    New Yorkers complain more about noise than any other “quality of life” issue. The city's 311 hotline logs some 1,000 noise complaints a day.

    “What we are trying to do is make that law enforcement more understandable and lead to constructive solutions,” the mayor said. “The reason you have fines isn’t to raise money; it’s to discourage certain kinds of behavior. And this does a better job at that, we think, than the existing law.”

    The new code would crack down on the worst offenders, which include construction sites, bars and nightclubs and car alarms. Instead of using handheld decibel counters, police would be able to issue summonses based on what is “plainly audible.”

    “This is a common sense approach to enforcement, and lets cops use their judgment,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. “The audible standard is going to make our job much easier.”

    The new code needs the approval of the City Council, which will hold hearings on the matter over the summer.

    Copyright 2004 NY1 News

  2. #2
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    New Yorkers complain more about noise than any other “quality of life” issue. The city's 311 hotline logs some 1,000 noise complaints a day.
    But this is NYC...Whatever! :roll:

    You know there is always the suburbs.

  3. #3

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    Mr. Bloomberg's sense is anything but "common". I feel like calling 311 to complain about the sound of this.

  4. #4

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    June 8, 2004

    In Noise Code Plan, Bloomberg Seeking a Quieter New York

    By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

    In an ambitious effort to bring succor to New Yorkers tortured by jackhammers, pounding music and the incessant jingles of ice cream trucks, the Bloomberg administration plans to overhaul the city's noise code for the first time in more than three decades, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday.

    The proposed changes would affect a broad range of industries and would let police officers and others crack down on offenders by letting them use their own ears in most cases to judge what constitutes excessive noise, instead of depending on the cumbersome and often impractical noise meters now used to measure decibels.

    That change alone would make it easier for the city's police force and its noise inspectors to take action against a broad array of noises that have long bedeviled New Yorkers: car alarms, loud motorcycles, vehicles with faulty mufflers and blaring radios.

    The legislation contains 45 pages of painstaking detail about sound and its resulting fury, with many areas singled out for enforcement:

    ¶ Barking dogs would have 5 minutes to cease yapping at night, and 10 minutes during the day. (Currently there is no time limit.)

    ¶ Roaring air conditioning units, now mostly exempt from noise laws when in clusters, would be subject to stricter standards.

    ¶ Construction projects would most likely be curtailed on weekends and at night, and the industry would be asked to use equipment to reduce sound, like noise jackets for jackhammers.

    ¶ Ice cream trucks, accustomed to inching down city streets bleating out-of-tune childhood ditties, would have to lose their soundtracks by 2006, replacing them with the little bells of yore. (Taco trucks would meet the same fate.)

    Penalties for violations, which would not change, range from $45 to $25,000.

    In stark contrast to the way Mr. Bloomberg has approached other legislation dear to his heart, he decided to consult with City Council leaders and potential opponents to generate support for his proposals, which could ease its passage into law. Among those he sought out for counsel were bar and club owners and the construction industry.

    In fact, nightclubs would be given something of a reprieve, as the law would allow them to fix noise problems for their first violation, rather than pay a $3,000 fine. Further, noise emanating from bars and restaurants must be heard from at least 15 feet away and through an open door to draw enforcement action, which will curtail some of the subjectivity currently used in issuing violations.

    At the same time, vibrations would also be subject to the proposed law. "We think it is a step in the right direction," said Robert Bookman, a lawyer for the New York Nightlife Association.

    The legislation represents a continuation of Mr. Bloomberg's fixation with reducing one of the most chronic quality of life problems in the city. Noise is the still the No. 1 such complaint in New York, well ahead of complaints about landlords and blocked driveways; the city's 311 number receives roughly 1,000 calls about noise each day.

    To deal with the problem, the Police Department initiated Operation Silent Night in 2002, singling out 24 high-noise neighborhoods throughout the city and employing intensive enforcement measures. Since its inception, the operation has resulted in 3,706 noise summonses and 33,996 Criminal Court summonses, since noise violators are often charged with other crimes as well.

    "We knew all along that Silent Night was only a Band-Aid to a serious problem," Mr. Bloomberg said in a news conference yesterday in Astoria, Queens, explaining what led him to charge the Department of Environmental Protection, which enforces much of the noise code, with revising it.

    "Complaints about noise are not frivolous," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Noise disturbs our sleep, prevents people from enjoying their time off work and too often leads to altercations when the police are called in. It can also produce serious hearing impairment, especially for those who work in noisy jobs."

    In announcing the proposed rules, Mr. Bloomberg was joined by Mr. Bookman, of the Nightlife Association; the City Council speaker, Gifford Miller; Nancy B. Nadler, director of development for the League for the Hard of Hearing; and Francis X. McArdle, managing director of the General Contractors Association of New York.

    Mr. Bloomberg's strategy of consulting potential opponents was a significant departure from the one he employed in announcing his plan to ban smoking in most city businesses: he left the Council more or less out of the loop, letting members learn about it in the newspapers. He also froze out adversaries of the bill, who blasted him for much of the next year.

    "The approach of the administration to the nightlife industry has been 180 degrees different than it was on other issues," Mr. Bookman said. Mr. Miller said that while the Council would hold its usual hearings on the proposed regulations, he would support the bill.

    The goal of the proposed legislation is to streamline some of the current laws and, in many cases, to toughen them to "preserve, protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare and the peace and quiet of the inhabitants of the city to prevent injury to human, plant and animal life and property," according to the legislation.

    The administration defines offensive sounds as noises made between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. that are seven decibels above the surrounding sound of an area. Between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., the threshold would rise to 10 decibels above the ambient noise of an area — noise that is, say, louder than the din on an elevated subway platform or substantially louder than the sounds heard at any normal Manhattan intersection.

    The city would still use electronic meters when police officers and noise inspectors from the Department of Environmental Protection are called to scenes of noise. However, if inspectors or police officers heard noise that was "plainly audible," emanating from, say, a boom box, a motorcycle or a nightclub with its door open, they would have the discretion to write a ticket without having to use the meter, which is now required.

    Many details still appear subject to negotiation with the City Council, such as the how to quiet pile drivers at a construction site, or faulty mufflers on cars.

    But apartment dwellers who live next to nightclubs and are tormented by the thudding bass of rock bands will appreciate the addition of "bass level vibrations" to the list of recognized noise.

    "It is not necessary for such person to determine the title, specific words or artist of such music," reads the proposed law, which could come as a relief to complainants unable to tell Courtney Love from Avril Lavigne.




    Mister Softee May Fall Under Cone of Silence

    By ANTHONY RAMIREZ


    Jasmine Jolley, 8, and Sean Shields, 7, enjoyed ice cream in Brooklyn yesterday thanks to their mothers, Carol Jolley and Sandi Burrus.

    For nearly half a century, the Mister Softee jingle has been janglingly familiar: part music box, part merry-go-round and all kids-screaming-for-ice-cream summer mania. Love it or hate it, the city's new antinoise proposal, which could ban or restrict the jingle, strikes a high-pitched chord.

    Just listen to this exchange yesterday in front of Public School 372, the Children's School in Brooklyn: "You hear that noise?" said Winsome Johnson, who has three daughters, as she winced and gestured toward a Mister Softee wagon. "Sometimes you just want a quiet time, and Mister Softee is making noise just like that."

    Bourque Simmons, a singer passing by with her daughter, Kennebrew Taylor, 9, heard Ms. Johnson's criticism and shouted: "There's no music in these kids' lives anymore. You have to have some! It's real stupid of them to try to ban the jingle."

    Ms. Johnson harrumphed.

    "That's music?" she replied. "That is not music. It's a lot of noise!"

    The people at Mister Softee could not disagree more. James Conway Jr., whose father and uncle founded the company in 1956 in Philadelphia, said the business would be hurt badly if the jingle could not be played on the streets of New York.

    Of the 650 Mister Softee franchised trucks trolling neighborhoods in 15 states, 250 work the five boroughs of New York City. Most trucks start cruising around noon and do not return to Mister Softee operations depots, like the one on Carroll Street in Brooklyn, until 10 p.m. or later.

    Drivers say they make most of their money between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., when parents come home and can give their children the 75 cents to $1.25 for a soft-serve cone.

    "We're willing to work with the city on this, on some kind of compromise," said Mr. Conway, vice president of the company, which is based in Runnemede, N.J. "But we need the jingle. This is our livelihood, and we feel it's a New York institution."

    For their part, city officials believe Mister Softee officials may be overreacting and, at the very least, failing to recognize that a substantial number of consumer complaints prompted the antinoise proposal.

    Charles G. Sturcken, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, which enforces the city's noise code, said that in the month of May alone there were 243 noise complaints about ice cream vendors. Mr. Sturcken said he did not know how many had involved Mister Softee trucks.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  5. #5

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    Mike Bloomberg was born and raised in Medford MA, a suburb of Boston (you know, the city that always sleeps?). I no longer have any doubt that he wants the Big Apple to be a clone of that boring town. So why am I not surprised by this ?

  6. #6
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Maybe is the city's 1,000 noise complaints a day? :roll:

  7. #7

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    People can complain all they want, but this isn't Boston MA (I've been up there a few times and it's WAY TOO BORING to describe here) This is New York NY. Isn't supposed to be the city that never sleeps (or at least its Midtown and VIllage areas don't)? This city must have lots of NIMBY's...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agglomeration
    People can complain all they want, but this isn't Boston MA (I've been up there a few times and it's WAY TOO BORING to describe here) This is New York NY. Isn't supposed to be the city that never sleeps (or at least its Midtown and VIllage areas don't)? This city must have lots of NIMBY's...
    I agree, but if you can make a rule to quiet construction and to quiet those punks blasting their music WAY too loud, etc. Than why not try. Of course there will be more noise, congestion, etc. in NYC and people like it that way...too a point. Common sense without being draconian is something that should be good for the city. It's almost like saying b/c there's so many people, so much going on, it's ok and there's nothing to do about trash on the streets.

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    Its a freakin' city! Give me a break! :roll:

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    There is a BIG distinction between Manhattan and New York City. In the case of this initiative, I hope Bloomberg wastes little time in Manhattan and comes to the other Boroughs. I'd like to see the blaring car alarms of drivers who sleep peacefully blocks away get ticketed. I'd like to see the livery drivers who beep their horns in the nano-second following a traffic light turning green. I wonder if he'll ticket his own sanitation department for the racket they make every other morning at 6:00AM.

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    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    MAYOR'S NOISE PLAN FINES EAR POLLUTERS

    By STEPHANIE GASKELL
    June 8, 2004

    Mayor Bloomberg yesterday proposed a giant "Shhhhhh!" for the city — slapping a legal limit on barking time for dogs and ordering Mister Softee ice-cream trucks to shut off their trademark jingle.

    The mayor's sweeping anti-noise plan would be the first revision of the city's much-criticized noise code in 32 years.

    In addition to banning all ice-cream truck drivers from playing their signature music beginning on Jan. 1, 2006, and permitting dogs to yelp only for five minutes during the day and 10 minutes at night, the measure would curtail the racket at construction sites and control decibels at rowdy bars and restaurants.

    But it was Bloomberg's focus on ice-cream jingles and yappy dogs that drew the most attention.

    James Conway, a vice president of Mister Softee, which operates about 250 ice-cream trucks across the city, said the proposed law "would seriously, seriously impact our business."

    "There are a small percentage of operators who are not considerate — they play their song too loud and too long," he said. "On the other hand, there is a very vocal minority of residents who object to any kind of sound."

    He added, "Somewhere in the middle is a compromise that all of us can live with."

    The legislation would allow ice-cream trucks to use hand-rung bells until 2006.

    City officials said the 311 non-emergency number has logged more than 1,200 complaints about the repetitive jingle since March 2003. Last month alone, 243 callers griped.

    "One of the biggest complaints is the Mister Softee jingle," the mayor said as an ice-cream truck drove by while he was announcing the new plan at a press conference in Astoria Park, Queens.

    But Dimitrious Konstantakakos, who has driven his truck for the past five years, said, "Without music, people don't know the ice-cream truck is here,"

    Under the proposed legislation — which will be subject to public hearings and must be approved by the City Council — owners whose dogs bark for more than five minutes at night or 10 minutes during the day can be fined as much as $175.

    "This is out of control," said Miriam Prussman, who was walking her golden retriever, Cody, in Manhattan. "What is he going to do? Restrict dogs from having vocal cords?"

    The new noise code also would put restrictions on construction sites, such as requiring workers to cover jackhammers with blankets to muffle the noise.

    Bars and nightclubs would actually see some of their noise regulations relaxed under the new law.

    Currently, a cop can ticket a club owner for excessive noise outside his club, even if it's coming from the door being opened and closed. That provision would be taken out under the new bill.

    The cop now has to hear excessive noise from at least 15 feet away — with the doors are shut.

    Rob Bookman, attorney for the New York Nightlife Association, called the new bill "a good start."

    The proposed law also changes the way noise is measured.

    Cops are typically armed with noise meters, which measure decibels. Those would get tossed out and cops could now use what Bloomberg called "a court-approved standard" of acceptable noise, which measures noise based on distance.

    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings

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    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    :shock: ohoh...BIG BROTHER is hearing you!

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    "One of the biggest complaints is the Mister Softee jingle," the mayor said as an ice-cream truck drove by while he was announcing the new plan at a press conference in Astoria Park, Queens.
    I guess that started it all... :roll:


    "This is out of control," said Miriam Prussman, who was walking her golden retriever, Cody, in Manhattan. "What is he going to do? Restrict dogs from having vocal cords?"
    :lol: you can said that again lady!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
    There is a BIG distinction between Manhattan and New York City. In the case of this initiative, I hope Bloomberg wastes little time in Manhattan and comes to the other Boroughs. I'd like to see the blaring car alarms of drivers who sleep peacefully blocks away get ticketed. I'd like to see the livery drivers who beep their horns in the nano-second following a traffic light turning green. I wonder if he'll ticket his own sanitation department for the racket they make every other morning at 6:00AM.
    It's not their fault BR, the horn is actually attached to the timing device on the light...

    And that Mr Softee "Ba-dink-da-dinkity dink-da-dink" annoys the HELL out of me.

    I think instead of that, or bells, that it should be covers of some classic rock tunes.

    Imagine hearing the same kiddie-like noise, but after a few seconds you realize that the tune sounds familiar....

    IRON MAN!!!!!

    Dink-Dink, dink-dink-dink
    Diddle-diddle-diddle-do
    Dink Dink DInk.

  15. #15

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    LOL!

    "Smoke on the water" maybe...

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