NYC noise complaints skyrocket following stay-at-home order

New York City noise complaints have reached a fever pitch.

While distracting sounds are a fact of life in the Big Apple, coronavirus cabin fever is making normally racket-resistant New Yorkers more aware of sounds during lockdown — particularly from their neighbors.

Noise complaints have spiked by 22% compared to the same time last year, from an average of 28,599 calls in 2019 to an earsplitting 35,972 in 2023, according to a WNYC analysis of 311 calls beginning when the stay-at-home order went into effect at the start of March until mid-April.

“They were playing Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles’ on the keyboard, but they kept getting the notes wrong,” Bushwick’s Carson Mlnarik, 24, tells WYNC. Brooklyn was recently named the borough with the most noise complaints, logging a deafening 73,744 calls between January 2019 and February 2023, reports Time Out.

The Department of Environmental Protection defines complaint-eligible sounds as everything from loud music to construction sounds. However, blaring beats and jabbering jackhammers aren’t the only noises grinding citizens’ gears.

“For some reason, they like to make love when they are listening to music,” said Anthony Riveccio, who has been working from home in The Bronx since March and filed one noise complaint.

Callers are not the only ones fed up with the noise. Many have taken to Twitter to file their complaints.

“I can only assume that my upstairs neighbors have been coping by making a DIY roller rink a la WHIP IT, judging by the noise,” one Brooklyn resident tweeted.

“just had to hear my upstairs neighbors absolutely SCREAMING along to the mysterious ticking noise song. in 2023,” tweeted another city dweller, possibly referring to the popular 2007 YouTube video.

Another person pointed out that it might just be more noticeable during lockdown.

“My upstair [sic] neighbors are very noisy and are messing up my sleep schedule. They come to life around 11pm and don’t stop making an ungodly amount of noise until 4:00am. Perhaps I am just noticing their ways now because there are not as many competing noises as before isolation,” the user wrote.

The Brick Underground compiled a handy guide for dealing with noisy neighbors during lockdown, with helpful tips like asking your neighbor to install more carpeting to mute annoying floor creaks, buying noise-canceling headphones and reaching out to fellow tenants who might be also sick of the quarantine clangor.


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