No wonder the city doesn’t sleep: noise is, by the numbers, the single worst “pest” in New York. As of May 2010, more people—2,098,288, to be exact—had called 311 to complain about noise than about anything else. But, as nice as it is to have a good whine, the peskiest sounds in the city do have solutions.
- If you listen to your neighbors talk rather than watching TV: “Doctor” Bob Orther, Senior Technical Adviser at Soundproofing America, says that most New York noise is due to the older, more resonant wood in our apartment walls. But even renters have recourse. An extra layer of drywall, applied with a dampening agent like Green Glue, can eliminate noise from next door without any structural changes; a similar method can be used to “float” your ceilings. [UPDATE: Cost will vary depending on the size of your wall and the thickness of the drywall, but you should be able to find something for a buck or so per foot.]
- If your street-sound serenade is way off key: Orther says it’s hard to DIY a window fix and still be able to open the window in question, so it’s better to go to the source. If it’s a car alarm (or something else equally…alarming), 311 may actually be your best bet, since they’ll investigate the cause. If the problem is people, you can always pull an Anna Wintour.
- If your fellow commuter turns his classic rock all the way up to 11: Fight fire with fire. Although you may miss out on some garbled conductor-speak, inexpensive and compact noise-cancelling headphones do exist.
- If you still think it’s too noisy: Move to the country.