Last month, colorful maps like this one were making the rounds after programmers released data visualizations of the noisiest sections of New York City. The areas with the most red dots recorded more 311 noise complaints than neighborhoods shaded in yellow (Yes, the LES is in the red). Now the state comptroller is conducting a survey to find out how people feel about the effectiveness of government agencies in dealing with noise complaints. Here’s an explanation:
Your feedback will help to highlight this important issue. Your responses are anonymous and will be used by the New York State Comptroller’s Office only for research purposes and audit planning. Our objective is to solicit information about your experience of noise in your neighborhood. By noise, we mean sound that you do not want to hear. We want to know how you feel about noise, and how you respond to noises that you hear in your neighborhood. We also want to know about your experience making noise complaints to New York City government agencies or public officials. How was your complaint was handled and what was the outcome of that process? Finally, we seek your ideas and suggestions for improving government’s handling of noise complaints and for reducing noise in your community.
We attended a meeting of the 5th Precinct Community Council Wednesday night, in which heated discussion was anticipated regarding the May 8th arrest in Chinatown’s Columbus Park of a Chinese immigrant and musician. Yi Zhuo Wu was arrested for playing and using a microphone without a sound permit and was allegedly mistreated by four NYPD officers. The incident was captured on videotape and posted to YouTube, garnering more than 60,000 views.
Notably, there was very little heat or discussion last night. Representatives from CAAAV (Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence) attended the meeting and held yellow signs in their laps that read: “No permit, No excuse,” but didn’t use them. When CAAAV’s Esther Wang asked about the May 8 incident, an official with the 5th Precinct deflected, saying that the Dept. of Internal Affairs is investigating the situation and that nothing further could be clarified pending the investigation. He commented that while the video looks bad—Wu is bloodied and beaten—“you only see half of what happened, there are 20 more minutes before that point.”
A few weeks ago we had coverage of a contentious community meeting, in which residents lit into managers of the Thompson LES Hotel for their failure to control late night noise and unruly crowds. New York Magazine has now checked in with Thompson LES owner Jason Pomeranc.
He expressed confidence that the neighborhood would get used to the hotel, and downplayed the complaints, "I think that’s a broad characterization to say that the neighborhood is upset about it… it is a minority element, I believe, that has been negative about it.
Part of the process is to ingratiate the neighborhood and realize that
the hotel, the pool, the restaurant, the bar are actually an asset and
do make for a better, safer, cleaner neighborhood that creates more
jobs and creates more energy and ultimately has a positive ripple
effect for residents, for merchants, for everyone around it."
He told NYM the hotel takes the complaints from neighbors seriously, and will work to alleviate their concerns. Another community meeting is scheduled in early July.
WNYC's Soundcheck blog takes a look (and a listen) at the noisiest neighborhoods in the city. It won't come as a big surprise that this is a category in which the Lower East Side and Chinatown excel. After Washington Heights/Inwood, we live in the neighborhood with the most noise — more than 7-thousand complainsts since the middle of 2008. The LES/Chinatown is the top district for noise complaints from bars, restaurants and clubs. You can see the complete list here.