New York City is famously the city that never sleeps — partly because it won’t shut the hell up.
Half of NYC barely gets six hours of shut-eye a night, a far cry from the recommended eight. The constant noise can’t be helping. So here’s a helpful guide to surviving the street sounds, noisy neighbors — and yes, even the loud love-making next door.
Did you know that the Big Apple has a noise code? It states that “[t]he making, creation or maintenance of excessive and unreasonable and prohibited noises … is a menace to public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and the prosperity of the people of the city.”
Good luck explaining that to your neighbor plunking on the keyboard to Vanessa Carlton’s “1000 Miles” — a real complaint from a Bushwick resident in April 2020 during lockdown.
New Yorkers, who are typically racket-resistant, have three ways to deal with the ruckus: Passive, passive-aggressive, and straight-up psycho.
First, try tuning out the world around you. Noise-cancelling earbuds might do the trick, and they’re great for the subway and airplanes, too. Bose brand Sleepbuds retail for $249.
Another option is an over-the-head pillow. Texas-based company Sleep Crown makes a unique product that blocks light, muffles ambient sound and “gives gentle pressure to the head,” which can be relaxing unless you just watched “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”
The $149 Dreampad combines the two ideas by being a pillow with a speaker inside that provides soothing vibrations. It’s like returning to the womb.
You can also try sound-proofing your apartment with heavy drapes, thick carpets and large furniture to deaden the sound by absorbing it.
If that doesn’t work, go with psychological warfare. The passive-aggressive approach is for all the Karens out there. Here are a few tips to subtly stand your ground without unleashing your foe’s inner crazy.
Loud music next door? While it could be the cat pawing at the volume knob, like this story in Spain, you could return the favor by playing your own terrible tunes — within reason. In Florida, a man was beaten into a medically induced coma after asking someone to turn down their music.
Either way, it’s important to shine a light on your neighbor’s baloney, just like this Tribeca woman did to get back at her neighbor’s big-screen TV glare.
If all else fails, go the HAM route. New Yorkers aren’t exactly good with confrontation, so tread lightly with direct face-to-face contact. It can be dangerous, or even deadly.
These ideas are the urban equivalent of leaving a bag of flaming poop on the doorstep. Sign their address up for a dirty magazine subscription. Vacuum at 4 in the morning. Rub Crisco on their mailbox. Eventually they’ll get the message.
Or go the official route by tattle-telling to your landlord or calling 311, NYC’s non-emergency helpline. Just know that when it comes to the chaos, you’re not alone.
Residential noise complaints went up nearly 87% from 2018 to 2020. Each year, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers file official grievances with the city.
Being pissed off? It’s our shared experience.