Noisy Neighbors

Ultimate NYC Guide to Noise Complaints: Part 1

Part 1: Who’s Making All That Noise?!

New York City is Called “The City that Never Sleeps” for a Reason. Crowned as the most densely populated city with a population of more than 100,000 people in America, New York City packs in a staggering 27,016.3 people per square mile. Squeezed into apartments like stacks of sardines, New Yorker’s have no choice but to be reminded of our neighbors’ existence in some way or another at all hours of the day and night. Noise in the hallway, TV blaring through the wall, some kid’s painful piano practice (over and over because practice makes perfect!),  couples fighting, loud conversations, music and noise from above (and on and on) are all parts of the cost of living in the city that never sleeps.  That doesn’t even account for the rest of the noise from emergency response vehicles, fire trucks, horns blaring and even ice cream trucks! The sources of noise pollution may seem endless, but that doesn’t mean that New Yorkers can’t complain about it.

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According to data collected by NYC Open Data, in 2014, The City of New York received a whopping 145,645 noise complaints. That works out to about 400 noise complaints a day. More than half of the complaints received regard noise from neighbors, the rest originates from outside sources. Loud Music/Party and Loud Talking collectively make up 50% of the noise complaints. This doesn’t come as a surprise for such a vibrant metropolis–after all, it’s New York City; not the suburbs. Below is the break down of the top 13 noise complaints that make up 97% of the total with 3% accounting for random other noise complaints.

Kinds of Noise Complaints in NYC

In the below chart you can see a breakdown of the different types of noise complaints by New Yorkers. Some of them like dog barking or jackhammering are obvious, but what kind of cold-hearted New Yorker tattle-tales on the ice cream man?!

Chart Breakdown of Noise Complaints in NYC


Map of Location of Noise Complaints in NYC 2014

This interactive heat-map shows you the location of the noisiest neighborhoods of New York City. Have patience, this map takes a little time to load due to the large number of New Yorkers complaining about noise.

When are the Noise Complaints

Not all days and times are equal for noise complaints in New York. We’ve taken the data and graphed it by time and by day of the week. There are some obvious findings, like most complaints being clustered from 10:00pm – 2:00 am, especially on weekends–a clear sign of people just trying to get some shut eye.

Many of the complaints don’t have to do with disrupting sleep, at all, as can be seen with the Saturday spike from 7:00am onward. These New Yorkers that favor sitting at home in silence and jumping at the opportunity to quiet their neighbors may be better off living in the quiet country than in the bustling big city. It’s the weekend, after all!

Chart Noise Complaint Times in NYC by Weekday

Next: How to Deal with a Noisy Neighbor (coming soon)


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