Even New Yorkers deserve quiet in their lives

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by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Even New Yorkers deserve quiet in their lives. That’s certainly true, and that’s the headline for the opinion piece in the New York Daily News in late September. In the piece, Justin Zorn and Leigh Merz, who wrote the book “Golden: The Power of Silence in a World of Noise,” weigh in specifically about noise in New York.

They point out that it’s hard to measure noise levels over time, but by one measure–the sound pressure level output of fire engine sirens–New York has certainly become noisier.

They also mention a recent article in The Atlantic, “Why Do Rich People Love Quiet?”, that implied that only the wealthy wanted quiet. Zorn and Merz point out that noise has disproportionate impacts on poor people, and that everyone deserves a quieter city.

Finally, they also mention The Quiet Coalition’s own noise pioneer Arline Bronzaft, PhD, twice, citing her groundbreaking research in the 1970s showing that noise interfered with children’s learning, and concluding their essay with her recent statement in a Freakonomics Radio podcast, writing:

In a recent interview, the legendary quiet campaigner Arline Bronzaft described how each one of us has a role to play in bringing more quiet. “One word could really cut back on noise intrusion,” she said. “Respect.”

Thanks to Melissa Elstein at Stop the Chop for bringing this to our attention.

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