Living in New York City is no cakewalk, despite what all those glamorous TV shows and Hollywood movies might have taught you. It’s nearly impossible to find a decent place to live that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, and even when you do, you’ll have to deal with excruciating traffic, crowdedness, a high cost of living, pollution and, last but not least, a lot of noise.
NYC is known as the city that never sleeps, which, for those who are actually trying to get some sleep, isn’t such a plus. Although NYC has quiet hours, they're not always respected and street noise can still be loud at all hours of the night. If you’re one of those lucky ones who can afford to live in a sky-high penthouse, away from all the street noise, then you should count your blessings. Because for the average New Yorker, who often has to sacrifice personal space just to live in a bustling neighborhood in Manhattan, noise can be a major pet peeve.
Because we know what it’s like to live in a busy city, surrounded by other people, we thought to find out which are the noisiest streets in New York City right now. We looked at all noise complaints filed with the 311 service from January 2019 through February 2020, to extract the noisiest streets in the city, ranked by the number of complaints. So, put in your earplugs and keep reading to see what we found.
Let’s start off by looking at noise complaints at the borough level, and zoom our way in. In terms of the sheer number of noise complaints filed from January 2019 through February 2020, Brooklyn emerges as the loudest borough in NYC. Here, residents filed 73,744 noise-related complaints over the past year, a significantly higher number than in any of the other boroughs.
It seems that the biggest noise-related issue for Brooklyners falls into the ‘Loud Music/Party’ category, with 47,286 complaints filed since January last year. That’s probably the most common complaint in residential neighborhoods, followed by issues related to banging or pounding noises - Brooklyners filed 19,779 complaints in this category.
The second-noisiest borough in NYC is the Bronx, with a total of 63,998 complaints filed since January 2019. The biggest problem here is also noise in the form of loud music or partying, as there are 39,679 complaints filed in this category.
Compared to Brooklyn or the Bronx, Manhattan actually seems to be a lot quieter. A total of 56,741 noise complaints were filed in the borough, 32,699 of them falling, again, in the ‘Loud Music/Party’ category.
Queens is slightly less noisy than Manhattan, it would seem, recording 55,032 complaints since January 2019. The bulk of these 311 complaints falls into the loud music and partying noise category.
Finally, Staten Island has the lowest number of noise-related complaints filed with the 311 service. It would seem that the borough is considerably quieter than other parts of the city, and there might also be less partying and loud music going around. There were just 8,040 complaints recorded on a borough-level, with just 5,111 in the loud music and party category.
You’d think Manhattan was the noisiest borough of all, given all the bars, clubs, tourists, and buzzing nightlife. However, it turns out that people living in Queens have a lot more complaints when it comes to noise - a lot more.
Three streets in Queens have gathered the highest number of noise complaints over the past year, and they’re not even close by. The noisiest street to live in nowadays in New York City turns out to be Eighth Street in Astoria. The street lies in what is primarily a residential neighborhood, bordering the massive Astoria Houses community. Given that so many people reside on or around 8th Street, it’s no wonder that there are a lot of noise complaints - to be exact, 2,638. The bulk of these complaints (1,824) falls unsurprisingly in the ‘Loud Music/Party’ category, followed by 636 complaints regarding banging or pounding noises. There are even 64 complaints regarding a neighbor’s loud TV; I’m sure this is something we’ve all experienced at some point in our apartment-living days.
Another noisy place to live in is Madison Street (especially in Queens), where residents and tenants have filed 2,271 noise complaints since January 2019. It would seem that this Glendale street is even more party-prone than 8th Street, as 2,232 of these complaints were related to loud music or partying. No TV noise-related complaints on Madison Street though, so that’s a plus.
The third-noisiest street in NYC is also in Queens, namely Ninth Street, which managed to gather 2,186 noise-related complaints over the past year.
The three loudest streets for NYC residents are all located in Queens, but at #4, we have Grand Concourse in the Bronx. This busy thoroughfare stretches for over 5 miles and runs through multiple neighborhoods in the borough, including Mott Haven, Norwood, Bedford Park, and Concourse.
It’s no surprise then that there are also a lot of noise-related complaints around this busy, highly trafficked street. Grand Concourse has managed to scoop up 2,119 noise-related complaints since January 2019, 1,309 of which are - again - about loud music and partying noises.
Check out a detailed list of the 50 noisiest streets in New York City below:
Manhattan is certainly the busiest, most glamorous and active borough in New York City, so naturally, you’d also expect it to be the noisiest. However, only 10 streets in this borough made our list of the 50 noisiest streets in the city.
The noisiest street in Manhattan, Seventh Avenue, actually landed at #13 on our list, with 1,708 noise-related complaints filed since January last year. That’s really not a lot, given that this is a major thoroughfare that stretches more than 5 miles across Manhattan (it’s known as the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard north of Central Park).
Compared to Bronx’s Grand Concourse, which also covers 5 miles in its borough, Seventh Avenue seems to be a lot quieter, despite it passing through the West Village and the Garment District - it even intersects with Times Square.
On the other end of the spectrum, the least noisy Manhattan street on our list is West 131th Street, landing at #48 with 745 noise-related complaints filed over the past year. This Harlem street seems like the perfect choice for those looking for less partying and more peace and quiet - West 131th Street only gathered 84 ‘Loud Music/Party’ complaints since January 2019.
We reviewed all Residential Noise 311 Service Requests from January 2019 to February 2020, and removed all complaints that had no location data.