Mayor says loud nightclub music is way off bass
By Elizabeth OBrien
If a noise is loud enough to hear without straining, never mind the decibel level or sound meters the mayor says hes going to do something about it.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg has recommended an overhaul of the way the city defines and prosecutes noise, which will affect everything from wailing car alarms to pumping bass music and clattering air conditioners. The modifications would change the current standard of unreasonable noise to plainly audible, the Daily News first reported last Sunday.
This is a complete revision of the noise code, Jordan Barowitz, a spokesperson for the mayor, told The Villager.
Noise complaints top the list of quality-of-life-concerns reported to 311, the new city information hotline. The mayor is expected to submit a draft of new noise legislation to the City Council next month, and then public hearings will be held before the Council decides whether to make it law.
Local residents greeted word of the proposed changes with skepticism.
Before they change the laws, they should think of how theyll enforce them we dont have any more beat cops, said Anna Sawaryn, chairperson of the Coalition to Save the East Village.
Its great to talk about these changes, but whats the point? asked Stanley Bulbach, a resident of W. 15th St. Its fantasyland.
Detective Mike Singer of the Sixth Precinct said he couldnt comment until he heard more details about the mayors plan. But he said there would be enough police resources to enforce any changes.
Noise is definitely one of our priorities, and it will continue to be, Singer said.
Singer said he could anticipate what local residents will say at the public hearings.
I can assure you that people in the Village will be complaining about bass, Singer said.
The current noise code does not adequately address bass vibrations, Singer and others have said. Currently, if a resident complains about vibrations from bar or club music but cannot hear loud lyrics, then theres little the police can do, Singer said.
Under the mayors changes, a pumping bass line would be considered plainly audible, the Daily News reported. When asked how the code change would address complaints of vibrations without any audible lyrics, Barowitz said he did not yet know.
Many city buildings arent equipped to withstand the sound systems that many bars and clubs have, Sawaryn said, so its not uncommon for a bass line from the ground floor or basement to cause a whole building to shake.
Bulbach said that the city would have to change its zoning regulations to get a firm handle on noise problems. Zoning dictates where clubs and bars can be built.
We dont plan in New York City very well, Bulbach said. We just ram through development.
The Department of Consumer Affairs recently unveiled a proposal to replace the citys cabaret law with a new nightlife license law that also aims to better control noise from nightclubs and dance clubs.