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

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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