Summer of Sounds: New York City’s Outdoor Music Scene Causing a Racket

It’s finally summertime in New York City. With the warm weather and sunshine also brings an awakening of outdoor life in parks and venues around the metropolis. While many look forward to the liveliness that the summer shows bring, many are complaining that these outdoor arenas are not only annoying, but are grounds for noise violations. Below are a few of the “hot spots” for noise controversies this summer:

Washington Square Park

With everything from folk bands to a grand piano, WSP is known for its eclectic variety of street musicians. In an attempt to appease the rising number of noise complaints in the area, the Greenwich Village Community Board 2 is considering a ban on certain types of instruments allowed in the park. The chief issue are the loud percussion instruments that may drown out the sounds of softer, acoustic instruments. “There’s nothing we treasure more than freedom of expression in Washington Square Park,” claims Tobi Bergman, C.B. 2 chairperson: “[But] at what point is protecting the freedom of expression of a small number of people actually preventing the freedom of expression of a much larger number of people who are being drowned out?” The board is considering implementing a “quiet area” in the park, in addition to possibly banning all loud, percussion instruments – especially those intended only for commercial gain.

Forest Hills Stadium

Originally built in 1923 to house the annual U.S. Open, this Queens tennis stadium re-opened in 2013 to become one of the city’s hottest summer concert havens – one, to many, producing far too much noise. Hosting names such as Van Morrison and James Taylor this summer, the stadium has a jam-packed musical schedule, but many nearby residents are less than pleased with how loud the shows are – leading to a $500,000 investment to remedy the issue. This will include building a concrete fence around parts of the stadium, installing noise-reducing panels, and redesigning the stage walls to more effectively contain sound.

Pier 97, Hudson River Park

The new outdoor concert venue at Pier 97 in Hudson River Park can hold over 5,000 people, and boasts summer headliners like Third Eye Blind and Slightly Stoopid. While the goal of the venue was to keep the loud noises of outdoor concerts out of the inner city, they’ve in turn created a new problem: just across the river, New Jersey residents are being blasted during the shows. One New Jersey resident claimed the shows are “shockingly loud,” even when her Windows are closed. Music lovers along the river are thrilled, but those in search of a quiet, peaceful weekend are quite distraught by the new distraction.

The Barclays Center

Although this venue is located indoors, it’s experiencing similar controversies over its ear-splitting noises during high-bass concerts. With nearby neighbors claiming that the bass from rap and R&B shows can be heard (and felt) in their living rooms, the venue even received an official noise violation for a few of last year’s shows. In addition to last year’s installation of almost 2,000 insulated ceiling panels and the hiring of a “sound concierge,” the venue is now in the process of constructing a “green roof” that should also help soften the musical blows.

Are you a New York City resident living close to one of these roaring venues? If so, you likely miss being able to hear yourself think. Consider CitiQuiet’s solution of Soundproof Window Systems for your home or apartment – your summer (and your sanity) deserve it.