The Sound and the Fury: How to File a Noise Complaint in NYC

| July 10, 2011 6:00 PM

Excessive noise is a menace to “public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and prosperity,” according to the city’s website. Besides that, it’s really aggravating.

C'mon neighbor, it's Sunday morning! Flickr/Martin Alvarez Espinar

The Bloomberg administration overhauled the noise code in 2007, enacting more stringent regulations for construction sites, sanitation trucks, nightclubs, ice cream trucks, animals and other noisemakers.

Here’s how to lodge a noise complaint if you live in New York City:

  1. Call 311. But be forewarned, as illustrated by Wired magazine, noise complaints are the number one reason New Yorkers use the 311 service, so get in line.
  2. Call the police — but not 911. For an immediate non-emergency noise problem, call the local police precinct.
  3. If the noise continues…For ongoing noise problems, reach out to the N.Y.C. Department of Environmental Protection at 718-337-4357.
  4. East Coast Choppers? If the noise is caused by a helicopter, lodge your complaint with the Economic Development Corporation hotline at 212-619-5000.

Fun Fact: The loudest place in New York City is underground. At 93 decibels, the F, V, B, D train platform at the Bryant Park subway station was the loudest sound recorded in a 2010 survey conducted by Hear the World, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing hearing loss.

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  • Ms. Linder

    Good morning:

    I live at 2045 Story Avenue, Bronx New York and have been having problems with my noisy neighbor for the past two months which Stellar Mangement is aware of and nothing is being done. This neighbor allows her child to run throughout the apartment literally 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5:00 a.m. when we are trying to sleep. I’ve been told take management to court and file a complaint. What else can we do? We are tired of losing rest.

  • Sleepless in New York

    My wife and i live in a brownstone in Manhattan, west side, We rent but have one bad tenant who slips through the cracks still owing over a years rent for a room, he feels he’s untouchable. He has never worked do to the fact my mother inlaw never checked him, Mays out. Drugs smoking loud music at 10 pm, i think he knows when the cops change sifts. I’ve called many times about, even yesterday and as i write he’s doing it. I’m retired and can’t get to sleep so i’m up at 11:45 at night writing this. There has to be something someone can do. This is when the cops should take over but like last night i waited for an hour and no one showed

  • Pingback: Gauging the Impact of Noise on Children's Learning | MetroFocus | THIRTEEN

  • Screw this site

    Seems like this website is just a place to vent when you feel helpless. Nothing gets done. I’m dealing with it right now as we speak with two children trying to get to sleep. Problem with these pathetic, non-enforced laws is that when the boiling point is reached, someone is going to take matters into their own hands.

  • sleppess in the bronx

    i live at 309 east mosholu bronx new york,and have been problem with my noisy neighbor in apt 5d.loud music since 10:00 until 9:00 am this morning.what else can i do.i’m tired of losing rest.please bloomber i want to pay my taxes in a happy slepp.

  • Decibelle

    I agree that calling 311 is useless. I called them last week to report loud bangs on W 58th St in Manhattan, caused by traffic driving on metal plates on the street which had loosened, and had a email next day saying that no action was necessary. It was only when I complained to DOT and the mayor’s office online that I finally obtained relief.

  • Last Straw on Gates Ave

    Help, i have an upstairs neighbor from hell, she blasts music/TV in every room all night, my mother is 76 years old and the noise is effecting her health. I have called the local police department, 311 and still the noise is unbearable. I have also spoken with this neighbor several times, no help there, as i write this at 3:33AM the NOISE is mind blowing, it gets louder and louder. where do you get help from, f
    ed up at 969 Gates Ave in Brooklyn. Joann please lower the noise level.

    • maquih

      Talk to the landlord! He might be able to evict your neighbor if many tenants are complaining.

  • J2DALO

    I am a 29 year old female who has battled cancer 4 times and am still struggling with my health. I have been having problems with the tenants from upstairs with the noise. It is ALL DAY LONG NON STOP! There is never a dull moment in that apartment. We know that the mother is a nurse and the daughter is about 15 or 16 and they have 2 dogs. You hear shoes being thrown, loud bangs,music, her phone conversations,her singing, my husband even heard the child having intercourse. I guess while the child is getting dressed for school she blasts the music at 6 and 7am. We bang on our ceilings, they bang back. We have complained to the super,landlord,311 and precint and no help. My mother has even caught the little girl pasting gum and stickers on our peephole with the word BITCH on it. We showed it to the landlord nothing was done. We have spoken to the mother and she tried to butter us up and bring us treats but it never stops. I am about to have a nervous breakdown especially due to my condition. He have had water come dowwn in my bedroom from their bathroom, we go upstairs and they say is nothing, the super goes and they have the bathtub over flooded. Who else can I call? I live on 2198 Cruger Avenue (The Pelham Parkway Area). How do I make a complaint with the mayors office please help.I need to be at peace specially with my health condition.

    • jtwebb

      Contact the attorny generals office or coucil members in you zip ot district.

    • tenant.building

      We also having the same problem and the ceiling also collapsed on here at 3525 Perry Avenue Bronx, NY the 3H apartment are making continuous noise even being reported to police. I forwarded the complaint against the slumlord to channel 4 news, channel news12, Norwood news, and news in long island because the landlord lives in Queens does respond to our complaints.

  • SleeplessinWoodside

    My upstairs neighbors are from hell. Every Saturday night, they have a party. This particular night, they are having a party in the entryway to the apartment building, directly in front of my apartment door. Cops will do nothing. 311 will do nothing.

  • robert

    I live on ellwood street in Washington heights and people on this block are constantly playing loud music and children are screaming on the streets I have called 311to no avail

  • hava

    i feel bad about j2dalo and the rest of the people on this website, what you have to do is call 911 till they are going to make a change in your sitution for the better and that means taking the responsibilities of doing the job they signed up for as police officers niose polution and noise complaints are serious and if any cop does not take it seriously or walks away what you must do is take down there badge numbers and names and make legitimate complaint with civilian complaint review board or internal affaires and or there superioe and sargent supervisor that they are walking away from the sitution and not doing their jobs, because when we call 311 they transfer it over to community affaires police department and they are requried to give the people making the noise asummons and or some authoritative warning that means something. noise palution is not ajoke and really can cause alot of mental health problemes for the ones that are not getting their rest sleep and peace and quite that you derserve in your home the family with the problemes is their probleme not anyone eleses probleme.And about workoing and paying taxes Yes your tax dollers pays for the cops sallery and what does that mean you have the power to complain about acop to his superiors if he doesnt do his job or even make a difference, like they are sappose to. sincerly.

  • dj

    My second floor apartment is adjacent to a co-op building gym that is open 24/7. There is not a period of time during the day or night where i don’t ear the low level rumble and whine of a treadmill or other exercise equipment. I have reached out directly to the building management but the noise has not stopped. What’s my next move?

  • Maritza

    I live in the bronx the people from upstairs play music every night, theyhave 3 llittle kids that jump at all time of the night.I hate to come home after work because I don’t have peace in my home. I have 40 police complaint. The land lord don’t do nothing to help me . I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m going crazy with those people upstairs from me and the music is in my bedroom

  • Jessica

    Lol 311 I is useless and police only want drugs they Bother other people instead of doing their job I have the same situation basement chronic music and downstairs chronic music neighbor had told me dude jacks off while he listens to music he be yelling and screaming if this helps you guys can sue tenants I’m gonna sue I have tratology of fallot and my heart beats fast every other day.

  • Peter

    At 298 E 3rd street there’s a family on the 4th floor that bangs and stomps around all day. Some noise is to be expected with an old building and wood floors, there are too many people in the apartment. One tenant that complained was an older woman below them, they tried to kick her door in.
    I don’t want the same problems.The management is part of the problem.

  • Nilsa

    Unfortunately by calling 311 they route the call to the police department. They specifically tell you that they will attend to it IF and WHEN they are not busy. In addition if DEP is involved they will come to your home at any given day and measure the noise. Which means they may come when the culprit is sleeping.

  • Hatshepsut

    I hear a noise on my street all night . it is in NYC on 119 street between

  • Hatshepsut

    I hear a noise on my street all night . it is in NYC on 119 street between 6th and 7th avenue..it must be a machine of some sort, it is a continuous high pitch with a humming. it starts at 7pm and ends at 8AM every night non STOP!! who shall I contact. I spoke with my neighbors and those living on the street apartment on 2nd and third floor hear it (it is all townhouses) none knows where it comes from!

  • v

    45 bay 19th Brooklyn ny, I have crazy noisy neighbors in apt 3E we bang they stop then do the same thing the next day, they like moving furniture from 9pm to 3AM!!! oh and they like to hammer on there wall at 4-5 AM . super has gone to there apt several times and they stop for a day and start again . moving out seems to be my only solution :(( its insane the amount of sleep I lost living here. I have to sleep with ear plus 7 days a week all yr around!! :(((( ( reached such a breaking point what else can I doo

  • Terri Rivera

    Get a petition signed by most or all tenants affected by this violation of your right to quiet enjoyment of the premises that you lol pay monthly rent for. Serve this document on your landlord preferably with a log of the many complaints to 311, to the landlord as well s dates and times of any confrontations with the culprits.. Make copies of all documents, keep originals to bring to court if the landlord ignores you. It is the landlords responsibility to provide his tenants with the peaceful enjoyment of your rental apartment. It should be in your lease, even if it’s not, these tenants are breaking their lease with their abusive behavior.the landlord can take it to court and have them evicted. If you

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