City Council Should Pass New Noise Code
Who doesn’t love the sounds of our city? — the bustle of kids playing in Prospect Park, the riffs of a saxophone in Grand Central Station or the cheers pouring out of the bleachers at Shea and Yankee Stadiums.
But, as we all know, there’s a big difference between sound and noise.
Blasting stereos, honking horns and ear-splitting jackhammers can ruin a good night’s sleep and diminish our quality of life. No one enjoys that. In fact, excessive noise continues to top the list of calls coming into our Cit-izen Services Hotline; there is an average of 1,000 noise complaint calls to “311” every single day.
Part of the answer to this problem is stricter law enforcement. That’s why, nearly three years ago, our Administration launched Operation Silent Night, which sends police officers into targeted areas to crack down on vehicle, alcohol and noise violations. There are currently 17 enforcement zones citywide that are part of this program.
But from the start, we’ve understood that we needed to take a wider ap-proach to reducing unnecessary noise. Last year, after listening closely to a broad coalition of construction, real estate and entertainment industry representatives, we presented a plan to bring the city’s noise code — which hasn’t been updated in 32 years — into the 21st century. It’s a comprehensive and rational proposal that aims to turn down the volume of noise complaints, while at the same time allowing construction, nightlife and other important business activities to continue in ways that are not as disruptive to New Yorkers.
When we first proposed to reform the noise code, Council Speaker Gif-ford Miller and other City Council leaders joined me at Astoria Park to express support for our efforts. They promised to hold extensive hearings and work with us to get this done. Shortly afterwards, we introduced a bill that embodied our revisions to the noise code, but in the months that have passed since then, the Speaker and the Council’s silence on the issue has been deafening.
In fact, it has been over 440 days since we first proposed to overhaul the noise code and hardly any progress has been made. I’m not sure what is behind the Council’s idleness, but it’s astonishing to think that the Empire State Building — that’s 102 stories of glass, concrete and steel — was built in less time!
Make no mistake about it — we will continue to press the City Council to act on this issue because noise is a critical factor in the quality of life in every community and every borough. Addressing basic quality of life concerns — such as potholes, graffiti and excessive noise — is essential to keeping this a city where families want to live and businesses want to locate and grow. And that’s the formula for a strong and healthy New York.
So let me say it one year later, one more time: We look forward to working with the City Council on overhauling our decades-old noise code. Hopefully, they will hear me this time — and take concrete steps to tackle our city’s excessive noise problem. When that day comes, it will indeed be sweet music to everyone’s ears.