Noise Is Driving Stuck-At-Home New Yorkers Nuts, 311 Data Shows

NEW YORK CITY — New York City's symphony of sounds, from sirens to subway serenades, are usually no more than background noise to hurried city dwellers.

But the coronavirus pandemic is anything but usual and New Yorkers have started to notice the cacophony while cooped up.

Take the chuff-chuff-chuff of whirling helicopter blades flying over high rises. Complaints to 311 about helicopter noise are up more than 130 percent over 2019, as detailed in a report by THE CITY.

"Anyone know why all these helicopters are in the air in New York City," tweeted one New Yorker.

Well, @bxgco, choppers always been up there. It just might be you — like hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, at the very least — are noticing the noise more.

A Patch review of 311 data show noise complaints are up 53 percent so far this year.

New Yorkers lodged nearly 733,000 complaints as of Nov. 18, compared to about 478,000 during the whole of 2019, according to data.

The increase is more remarkable given that several noise complaint categories — such as construction going on before or after hours — dropped significantly, likely because of COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.

But where they went up calls attention to New Yorkers' irritations and concerns during the pandemic.

Here's a sound sampling:


  • 2019 — 3,282

  • 2020 — 7,973

Car/Truck Music

  • 2019 — 21,650

  • 2020 — 52,478

Loud Music/Party - Residential

  • 2019 — 147,533

  • 2020 — 265,904

Loud Music/Party - Sidewalk

  • 2019 — 77,751

  • 2020 — 171,643

Many of the categories that increased relate to close quarters. Banging or pounding in homes drew about 76,000 complaints so far this year, compared to 65,000 during all last year.

And the noise complaints don't cover the irritant of hot viral summer: fireworks.

Complaints about fireworks shot up 4,000 percent in June in the run up to the Independence Day holiday.

So don't be surprised if 311 phone lines are alight over the next month with complaints about loud Christmas music.

This article originally appeared on the New York City Patch