New Yorkers push to lower the volume at local stadium

Photo credit: Ed, licensed under CC BY 2.0 DEED

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

Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York has been a presence in the community for the past 100 years, and for a number of years, it has welcomed huge crowds to its many musical events. While concert attendees are thrilled by the loud music, residents are now finding that the stadium is louder than ever and are now voicing their complaints, according to reporting from the Gothamist.

New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection has acknowledged the loudness of the stadium and issued seven “unreasonable noise” violations against it in the last two years. In response to the violations, stadium executives hired an acoustic consultant to lessen the loud sounds despite having implemented nearly half million dollars of noise mitigation measures, like a concrete fence and stairway covers, eight years ago.

Concern about the noise issue did not stop the Forest Hills Garden Corporation, which represents nearby residents, to file a lawsuit to end the concerts. The lawsuit notes that the stadium started out as a tennis club and is presently part of the West Side Tennis Club, and was originally not meant to be a music venue.  In the 90s, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani stopped all concerts at the facility and the events did not resume again until 2013. The article also quotes some residents who did not object to the concert noise.

Another community group, pointing to levels of music heard in local homes, suggested limiting the number of events as well as imposing a 10 p.m. curfew for the concerts. Furthermore, many community residents do not believe DEP has appropriately monitored the sound levels. In its defense, DEP claimed it has issued tickets but added that the fines were not high enough to act as a deterrent. 

There is a legal precedent for shutting down a summer concert series. A lawsuit in Coney Island, related to noise level violations, resulted in the end of a concert series as residents forced the event organizers to put it on in another location. In that case, the law recognized residents’ right to a decent quality of life.

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