How loud is too loud in New York City?

How loud is too loud in New York City?

Noise pollution in New York City: How loud is too loud?
October 12, 2017

Your ears are part of the environment, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection is in charge of protecting New Yorkers from the physical and mental assault of excessive noise. Here are some fun facts about keeping the volume low in the city that never sleeps.

RELATED: An interview with DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza

The Noise Code creed

“The making, creation or maintenance of excessive and unreasonable and prohibited noises within the city affects and is a menace to public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and the prosperity of the people of the city.”

How loud is too loud?

Midtown Manhattan traffic: 70-85 decibels (db)

Motorcycle: 88 db

Train: 100 db

Jackhammer/power saw: 110 db

All bark

Between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., excessive pet noise is a violation after 10 minutes. Between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., your barking dog only gets 5 minutes.

No popping while stopping

Ice cream trucks and other food vendors can play jingles like “Pop Goes the Weasel” only while in motion – and NOT while stationary.

Party crasher

Businesses playing music, like bars or venues, must keep volume below 42 decibels, as measured from inside nearby residences between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Hard(hat) of hearing

Construction may only occur between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays – except for some special cases, or emergency safety work.

Through the walls

A majority of the city’s noise complaints are reported as “noise from neighbor,” including sounds like music, power tools – and even loud sex.

What the (beep)?

This isn’t L.A. The use of vehicle horns is illegal, except as a warning in situations of imminent danger.

On the horn

The DEP and the NYPD share duties on responding to noise complaints. New Yorkers can call 311 with a complaint, and the operator will direct your concerns to the right agency.


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