Noisy Neighbors Outdoors

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    Does anyone have neighbors who play music outdoors in the garden when they are not outside themselves? For an hour or several, loud. Can anything be done about it? Asking them to stop has not made an impact.

    30 Replies

    1. The argument that if you live in a city you have to just shut up and put up with all kinds of noise is nonsense. No logic to it whatsoever. I have said it before and I’ll say it again:

      If you want to play loud music YOU ARE THE ONES WHO SHOULD BE LIVING IN THE SUBURBS. You know, where you don’t have loads of other human beings living so closely to you. People with babies who need to sleep. People who work long hard hours and are desperately trying to get some rest whether they sleep during the night or during the day. People whose offices are at home. NYC has a huge number of freelancers who work from home, especially Brooklyn. Students who are trying to study so they do well at school and make something of their lives. Studies prove kids growing up in noisy homes have low test scores. And you have not one ounce of consideration for these people. Nice.

      Living in close proximity to others means exactly the opposite of what you sociopathic jerks are saying — it means being MORE considerate. Why are you even in NYC if you hate people so much? I’ll say the same thing to you in response — you are really living in the wrong place. Go live on a farm. Seriously.

    2. my vote is to drown out their sounds with polkas.

      By day 3, they’ll get the hint….

      Plus there will be a block full of children associating polka with fun in the summer.

    3. Hmmm…Mopar, I haven’t had that experience with 311. What they do anyway is just call the Precinct and they stop by to check out the noise if they have nothing more pressing to do.

      I also called 311 once because of persistant blasting of music out of a neighbor’s house. One of the tenants used to relax by rigging up his sound system and making the walls vibrate. He opened up his windows and shared his love for hip hop with the world (He was a dj). My fillings were vibrating inside my head it was so loud. It was also late at night.

      Any way, I tried calling the landlord to ask them to get the guy to lower it in the past but they never returned calls, so this one time, I called 311 and the police came next door. No way was I going over there – it was really late. The owners were OUTRAGED that I would resort to calling THE POLICE on their tenant. The tenant WAS HEARTBROKEN that I resorted to this measure. DESTROYED that a neighbor would resort to calling the authorities.

      Well, bottom line, the tenant and his wife (who I got to know and like – they also gave me their number which I didn’t have) worked it out, they forgave me, I forgave them, Kumbaya, etc. But the owners still hate my guts.

      So there you have it.

      Probably best to just go over there and talk to them.
      Then get a f@#king powersprayer. Next choice 311.

    4. The 311 route will end up taking a very long time. We had a very valid noise complaint about one of our buildings in the East Village. An indoor AC unit was generating some sort of synchronized resonant frequency with the risers in the building next door. Every time we turned the AC on ,mostly M-F 9 to 5,there would be this really loud high-pitched squeal in all of the 6 story buildng’s apartments, including that of some folks who worked nights. Definitely an egregious violation…. Well the building super didn’t tell us and by the time we got a notice from DEP it was something like 18 months later. We quickly installed new springs and neoprene separators and resolved the problem but I felt bad for all that time….

      And it’s not clear from your posting if the noise levels exceed. You could solve your problem with your own noise. Fans, tv, other music. Whatever it takes to keep you from fixating on your neighbor…

    5. MALY! Laughing out loud with water spray. THAT was funny. And I agree with you 100%.

    6. um, Jaguar, does it make a difference if the people asking for a little consideration have lived in their house for decades and it’s the noisy people who are the newly arrived yuppie spawn from the burbs? It really comes down to awareness of others and reasonable compromise.

      Often the same people (not saying it’s anyone on this thread) defending the right to party in the yard all night are the first to yell “move to the suburbs” at families whose kids are making too much floor-noise for their downstairs neighbors’ liking. It’s all a matter of perspective.

    7. 1- Noise is by far the #1 complaint in the whole city, not just newly gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood.
      2- Read the question: she’s already asked the neighbors.
      3- Noise regulation are not just for nighttime. There are limits to how much noise you can make 24/7.
      4- I fail to see how it can be deemed reasonable to have continuous loud music, amplified outside, while you’re inside. It’s beyond idiotic. Kids playing, fine, parties, fine. Music on speakers outside for hours, while you’re inside? Rude.
      Some of you people sound like you’ve been raised in a barn. Do you lick all the shrimps at cocktail parties? Bring your sardine casseroles to reheat in the office microwave? Decide to go chemical-free during a heat wave? Ever wonder why people roll their eyes when you approach? That’s right, you’re an inconsiderate, self-absorbed lout, not particularly adapted to dense environment. There’s always Wyoming.

    8. Living here since 1988 proves what exactly? Asking someone to cease and desist from activities for which they may be within thier rights to exercise and then being ignored proves what else exactly? The entire post is predicated on the assumption you believe the interpetation.

    9. If half of you actually read the original post (“asking them to stop has not made an impact”), looked at her profile to see she has been in Bklyn since 1988 and just yesterday asked about getting better windows with sound-reducing glass, then you wouldn’t be making insulting assumptions and exposing yourselves as idiots.

      OP, there’s not much to do, unless it’s after 9pm, when you can do is either knock on their door or call the precinct (don’t bother with 311). You were on the right track yesterday – better windows and a white noise machine are the only surefire way to reduce the annoyance.

    10. I have had success with this very issue using 2 methods. 1) calmly & pleasantly go over to their house, knock on the door, and say in a kind voice, “I’m so sorry, but your radio is too loud.” Every single time. Do not lose your cool. At first they may turn it up. Just persist. After 9 or 10 visits this will work. 2)Get out in the yard 1/2 hour before they do, and turn YOUR radio on. LOUDER. Force them to share the sonic space, for a change. This works too!

    11. people don’t realize how much sound carries. ask them nicely some more before the 311 calling starts.

    12. I hate to break the news, but the neighbors aren’t going to change just because you moved in. They might be loud or you might be unreasonably sensitive, but they were probably there first, and there’s just no easy way to solve that particular problem.

    13. OP is complaining because the neighbors are not outside themselves while they play the loud music….I don’t think this should be framed as an issue of yuppie/overpaid for a brownstone vs. some notion of indigenous Brooklynites’ rights to be loud and obnoxious.

      It’s really about being courteous and aware of our impact on our neighbors. In my experience it has absolutely nothing to do with gentrification: the worst offenders have been monied people without any class at all.

    14. Nah, more like “Bitter +1” Jaguar seems really down on brownstone owners. Just because they can afford to buy a brownstone in Brooklyn, doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to a little peace and quiet once 10 p.m. hits. Tes, even in Brooklyn, everyone deserves quiet during certain hours.

    15. The biggest problem in Brooklyn right now seems to be that a bunch of prissy suburban people who are used to peace and quiet have gotten fancy jobs in NYC and have the money to buy overpriced brownstones, and then become disappointed when they realize on the first warm day that they now live only inches away from other people, some of whom want to play their music and enjoy their yards just like they always have. Brooklyn can be very loud and that fact doesn’t change just because some yuppie overpaid for a Brownstone. I guess the trade off though is that the commute to Wall Street is shorter than if you live in Westchester right?

    16. sam and jwaterb have a point, up to a point.

      When calling 311, which traditionalmod rightly recommends should be done in every instance, make sure YOUR address is entered into the record, and be prepared to give the city access to your apartment to take the sound reading from.

      And, as is always the case with 311, write down and save the complaint numbers. These can be shared with the local community board if independent follow-up is needed.

      Final word: noise is the number one complaint in the city and often very hard to resolve.

    17. Times sure have changed. When I grew up in a brownstone many of our neighbors, including us, liked to use our backyards in the summer. We practically lived on our back deck. Nobody had IPODs back then so all the music was shared. We heard everything from classical to salsa and the occasional distinct ring of the ice cream truck mixed in. For me those were the sounds of summer, and I loved it. By the way, I am not 40 yet, so we are not talking about that long ago.

      Welcome to the big city. Enjoy it!!

    18. Same thing can be said about folks who grill in their brownstone backyards. Some people find it really egregious, eventhough it’s within those folks right to do so.

      Unless your neighbors are violating EPA levels you really don’t have recourse other than modifying the things you CAN control; in your case, better soundproof the windows as your previous posts suggest. Or become a little more tolerant of urban enviroment. Or move.

    19. This was the #1 pet peeve of my time spent living in a brownstone, with rooms facing the backyard – the noise in the warmer months coming from neighbors outside. Music, parties, inane conversation till late hours.. They werent bad folks, just a young couple with a nice yard that they (rightly) enjoyed using by themselves and with friends when it was warm out. I would do the same. We asked nicely when it was really out of control, but even when the music and conversations were turned “down” it was still annoying. Its just one of those things that are a fact of living in an urban (or semi urban) environment. If you want to be assured of pure quiet, then move to the suburbs, or rather, the country.

    20. WRONG? Based on what? I didn’t see a definition on what the volume level is and you all are assuming it is excessive. I am not going to limit my yard enjoyment like it is a church for anyone. How about kids playing and the noise they make? I asked what was the definition of loud. Outdoor enjoyment is not a violation and some of the tactics depicted here like using a power hose or harrassing someone are in of themselves issues that can also be addressed with local authorities. The only thing wrong here is assumption. 311 should no longer allow anonymous complaints and require everyone identify to themselves.

      “Noisy lawless people like you” Assumption again. Blo-Me!

    21. I think many people don’t realize how loudly sound carries in brownstone backyards – they’re like mini-canyons, and 8 of our backyards = one decent-sized yard in Jersey or Long Island. So a little extra consideration is in order. Our lovely next-door neighbors once sublet for a summer to some people who were used to living in the country, and they were just awful – loud, drunk, inane conversations right under our window every night.

    22. WRONG, ou812. Too bad for noisy lawless people like you who scoffs at quality of life factors (until it affects them directly then suddenly it’s a huge crime) the new noise code says any loud music played frequently beyond the allowed decibels any time day or night is illegal. Doesn’t even matter if they’re outside or not.

      OP, call 311 every time it happens. You need to have a record of it. Eventually the city will send somebody to measure the noise level and if it’s too high (totally sounds like it is) these people will be fined.

    23. I would do everything within my power to try and fix this problem while at the same time maintaining a positive relationship with these folks (if you already have one). You have to live near these people and so it is better to have neighbors who like one another than those who do not.

      First of all, if you do not know these folks, introduce yourself, then, when the time is right, tactfully drop hints.

      Another tactic: next time they are outside, and the music is on, yell down to them in a very loud voice – something not related to the music – like “hello” or “how’s it going?” – start a conversation so that they will have to turn the music down/off. If they see how loudly you have to yell for them to hear you, they may get the hint and turn the music down for good.

      Try this a few times if they keep turning the music back up after your conversation. It is possible that they may not know that the noise is affecting anyone – or they may simply not be thinking.

    24. During the day, evening, or night? What is your definition of loud? There is a law/ordinance curtailing this after a specific time at night and the police may be called. Beyond that, who is the nuisance?

    25. Do they have speakers outside? Are they within hose range? If not, you can buy high pressure hose at the hardware store.

    26. AS a grown man, I would go right down to them and nip it in the bud, and tell them it is annoying, and if your not in the yard listening to it, then shut it.

    27. Step 1: Ask them to stop

      Step 2: Ask them to stop again

      Step 3: Have an attorney send them threatening letter and send it certified, return receipt requested.