See NYC's Noisiest Neighborhoods

Brendan Krisel

Patch

Jan 30, 2018

The Uptown neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood had the highest rate of noise complaints in New York City between 2010 and 2015, according to a new report by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

About 82 noise complaints per 1,000 adults per year were made within the confines of Community District 12 — which spans Washington Heights and Inwood — during the five-year study, according to the state comptroller's office. The top spot was shared with Community Board 10, which spans Central Harlem and also had a rate of 82 complaints per 1,000 adults per year.

"Noise in New York City is a significant quality of life and public health concern," DiNapoli said in a statement. "This report gathers data that could be used by state and city agencies to focus noise control efforts more effectively. The city has a model noise code and should be commended for taking steps to better enforce local law, but there is more that city agencies can do to control noise disruptions."

DiNapoli's report listed nightlife and construction as two of the most common causes for noise complaints. There were 10,589 nightlife noise complaints made within the confines of Community Board 12 between 2010 and 2015, earning it the fifth-highest total in the entire city behind hotspots such as the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Community Board 12 had only 187 State Liquor Authority license renewals in 2015, by far the fewest in the top eight neighborhoods in nightlife noise complaints.

The number of noise complaints per year for the entire city rose from about 200,000 to about 384,000 in the period between 2010 and 2015, according to the state comptroller's office. The median rate of complaints for all city neighborhoods during this time was 38 complaints per 1,000 adults per year, according to the study.

The two agencies responsible for enforcing the city noise code — the city Department of Environmental Protection and the NYPD — investigated about 1.6 million complaints made to 311 between 2010 and 2015, according to the state comptroller's study.

The DEP, which primarily handles complaints regarding construction or other environmental noises, issued fewer than 6,000 violations for 230,000 complaints. The NYPD, which primarily handles complaints regarding nightlife and people noises, made 791 arrests and issued 5,482 summonses for 1.3 million complaints.

"The data presented in Comptroller DiNapoli's report confirms that noise is a serious problem in New York City," Arline L. Bronzaft, chair of the Noise Committee of GrowNYC, said in a statement. "Research shows that noise is not only a nuisance, but more importantly, has adverse effects on our mental and physical health."