Photo credit: Ed Yourdon licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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

That New York City continues to be noisy is underscored by the number of noise complaints to the 311 hotline for 2022–739,527 complaints! The NY Post reports that The Bronx led the list with most complaints at 242,177 calls to 311, while Staten Island clocked in the smallest number of the boroughs at 14,596. The noise complaints included barking dogs, sirens, construction, idling engines, and helicopters which comes as no surprise to New Yorkers, but interestingly a number of people complained about noise from the well-known Tavern on the Green in Central Park. The NYPD acknowledged that there were 57 noise complaints to 311 regarding the Tavern on the Green, and the article notes that residents have asked the Community Board to respond to the complaints.

In my work with communities in the City regarding noise, I know that noise pollution is a major problem. I also know that many New Yorkers have given up calling 311. The reason is simple–-no action is taken to reduce the noise. That no actions follow most of the 311 complaints was confirmed in a report by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli several years ago when he inquired as to what happens after complaints are called in to 311.

But let me stress what the article failed to discuss, that noise is a health issue! The academic studies linking noise to adverse mental and physical health effects has grown in the last few years. The article did include a photo of an individual expressing anguish at the sounds of the noise and it is this anguish when sustained that can bring about adverse health effects.

I would hope that the NY Post, after providing this important information about noise complaints to 311, would follow up with some public officials to discuss actions that must be taken to deal with the noise in our City.

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