In New York, the 311 non-emergency call service gets 50,000 calls a day, and the number one complaint is noise.
It’s hardly surprising. In the city that never sleeps sound levels can reach a deafening 95 decibels in Midtown Manhattan – way above the federal government’s recommended average of no more than 70 decibels. This is why New York University has a five-year study underway – funded by the National Science Foundation – to monitor noise in the city. The Sounds of New York City project aims to track noise and its source and pass the information to the authorities. What happens next is undecided but early results are interesting. One of the quietest places identified is smack bang in the middle of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for example, which draws seven million visitors a year. Within its confines is the tiny Astor Chinese Garden Court where residents of NY can go for a spot of peace and tranquility.