Brooklyn Bridge Park residents seek quieter public bathrooms

Photo credit: Airam Dato-on

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

Our readers may find this post unusual and interesting. The City reported last week that a couple living in Brooklyn Bridge Park alleged that for years, noises from public restrooms on the first floor of their building kept them up at night. The family is not really complaining about noisy neighbors, unless one considers the individuals using those bathrooms to be noisy neighbors. Anyone is able to use restrooms in the building because it is situated on park land.

The Samaha family, who paid nearly $5 million for their apartment, has been complaining of sleepless nights since they moved into the unit in 2019. They found the noise so excessive that they filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn Supreme Court in September 2020, alleging they were not notified of the extent of the noise prior to moving in. They describe the noise in the lawsuit as a “banging” and “water hammer” effect that reverberates through their apartment. There are also a gate and storage room below the apartment that contributes to the overall noise experienced in the apartment above.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation completed some renovations to the “boisterous bathroom” but the family claims that the noise continues. New York City officials continue to explore ways to reduce the sounds of the flushing toilets and hand-drying machines.

One question is: Did the family visit the apartment before purchasing it? Did they spent some time in the apartment to listen to potential sounds coming into the apartment? This would include sounds from the bathroom but also sounds from the above apartment or from windows. Whether you are moving into an apartment or a home, you should be interested in learning about the surrounding sounds. This includes sounds from nearby airports, highways and rapid transit systems. Of course, you should also listen to the sounds of your neighbors, as well.

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