Photo via Nick Allen on Flickr
With its 8.5 million residents, honking taxis, constant construction and vibrant nightlife scene, New York City remains one of the noisiest places on Earth. Although quieter neighborhoods like the Upper East Side once offered a quiet reprieve from the city’s cacophony, these pockets of peace are getting harder to find as NYC’s population expands. As the New York Times reported, despite the fact that noise pollution has already been linked to harmful health effects like stress, hypertension and heart disease, about 420,000 noise complaints were filed citywide with the city’s 311 hotline in 2016, more than doubling the number of complaints made in 2011.
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While loud noise has been found to be harmful, new research shows residents who live in the loudest NYC neighborhoods may be healthier than residents living in quieter nabes. According to a study by NYU Langone Medical Center, neighborhoods that called in the most noise complaints to 311 had residents with a lower body mass index and blood pressure (h/t Metro NY). While researchers do not believe the actual noise is behind the healthier numbers, the study points to an area’s walkability to be a contributing factor to the health of residents.
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The map, the first of its kind, highlights the intensity of noises made by cars and airplanes across the country through geospatial data.
When comparing the perks of NYC to New Jersey, add the adjective “quieter” to the list. According to a noise map released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), noise pollution has been found to be worse in Jersey than it is in Manhattan. However, the density of highways in the city, and sounds from LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airport, do rank the New York metro area as one of the loudest areas in the entire country.
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New Yorkers may be surprised to learn that they do not live in the world’s loudest city. That dubious honor goes to Mumbai where noise levels have been known to reach close to 124dB. To put this figure into perspective, 124dB is somewhere between the sound levels typically reached by chain saws (120dB) and the take off of military jets (130dB). But this is not to suggest that New York City is easy on the ears. New York’s midtown traffic (75dB to 80dB), screeching subways (80dB to 100dB on average measured from an indoor platform) and jackhammers (110dB) all contribute to its status as one of the noisiest places on earth.
Ahead is a fun and fascinating timeline of New York City’s 100-plus-year war on noise, as well as some tips on how to find a quiet neighborhood if you want to emulate life in the ‘burbs without sacrificing the cool and convenience of the city.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE…
Images: Times Square subway station via John Wisniewski via photopin cc (L); Gingerbread Village via NYSCI Flickr (R)