Study: East Village noisiest NYC neighborhood

A police car in the East Village on A police car in the East Village on a Saturday night. (Feb. 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Agaton Strom

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Looking for some peace and quiet? Stay out of the East Village, the Lower East Side and Williamsburg.

Those three neighborhoods are the noisiest in New York City, with the East Village coming in at No. 1 with 2,107 noise complaints in the past year, according to an amNewYork analysis of 311 call data.

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The Lower East Side is the second-noisiest area in the city, with 2,073, and the perennial noisemakers in Williamsburg round out the top three with 2,056 complaints.

The vast majority of complaints from the past 12 months in all three areas were about noise from restaurants/bars and parties in apartments.

The vibrant nightlife that permeates these areas is both a blessing and curse for residents, experts said.

"People are coming in from all around the world to go out to our restaurants and experience our nightlife, so it's about finding the right balance where businesses and residents can work and live together harmoniously," said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

"These areas with the most complaints are hot spots for dining and nightlife and attracts New Yorkers and out-of-towners, which makes for a very high concentration of people, so of course there's higher concentration of people in the street who could generate complaints," he said.

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Rigie said restaurants in the areas are conscious of the residents' complaints and have "invested thousands and thousands of dollars [in] soundproof walls" and often work with "sound consultants."

Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, which oversees the East Village, said the issue of noise is nothing new and that the area has had the most complaints "for many years."

Still, some residents said the noise is simply too much.

"I've lived all around New York, uptown, downtown and all sorts of places, but this neighborhood has the weirdest noise," said Brian Lelder, 35, who lives on East First Street between First and Second avenues. "We live in the back [of the apartment building] and high up, but we can still hear everything," he said.

Courtney Miller, 39, who also lives in the area, agreed.

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"The noise is bad on weird nights too, like on Tuesdays," she said. "It's sporadic."

Only two Brooklyn areas cracked the top 10 -- Williamsburg and Prospect Heights -- but residents in those areas still had plenty to complain about.

"Before it was a lot of noise from gang fights, now it's the bars and restaurants. Now it's parties," said Raul Herandez, 52, of Williamsburg.

Added Joann Colmone, 58, who lives nearby: "It's horrible. It's not true that it stops after 12 o'clock."

Still, Rigie said more sound complaints can often signal a stronger hospitality industry, which is always good for the areas and good for the city.

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"The industry has done so much to grow some neighborhoods that were once perceived as undesirable and turned them into desirable areas to live in," he said. "People move to these neighborhoods because of their restaurants and nightlife."

With Anna Sanders

The 10 noisiest neighborhoods

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According to 311 call data analyzed by amNewYork, the nosiest neighborhoods in New York City are:

1. East Village

2. Lower East Side

3. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

4. Washington Heights

5. East Village/Stuy Town

6. Midtown West

7. Upper West Side

8. Murray Hill

9. Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

10. West Village

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