By Gina Martinez
After months of complaints from the Whitestone and College Point communities, City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) followed up on his promise to set up a task force to regulate the noise from booze cruises.
Vallone held a meeting last week with the Parks Department, the 109th Precinct, Harbor Patrol and owners from Skyline Cruises and Marco Polo Cruises to address residents’ noise pollution concerns.
According to Vallone, the boat owners were very cooperative and eager to resolve the noise issues. By the end of the meeting, he said, all groups were able to devise a plan for the next steps that will be taken.
The 109th Precinct plans to work with Vallone’s office and the community to create a group of “boat watchers” who will be responsible for contacting the 109th directly when they hear excessive noise coming from these boats. Boat watchers will learn to use two apps, called “vessel finders” and “ship finders,” which help track boat traffic and find out the names of any boats in the area. When they report problems to the 109th Precinct, officers will immediately contact Harbor Patrol.
Harbor Patrol has agreed to go out to the dock at the beginning of the season to let everyone know that they will be periodically checking noise on and around docks. Boat owners agreed to move their outside speakers to the inside of the cabin which should help in alleviating some issues. They also plan to attend the next civic meetings in College Point and Whitestone to hear from and address the community.
Vallone said his office will set up a sound check where the boat owners will take their vessels on the East River along MacNeil Park in College Point and Whitestone and play music. Sound will be measured at locations in College Point and Whitestone to determine at what level the music should be set so that it will not disturb the community.
“The days of Whitestone and College Point being plagued by incessant music and pounding bass are coming to an end,” Vallone said. “We have worked hand-in-hand with all parties to develop this plan, which will go a long way towards providing our neighborhoods with the peace and quiet they deserve. Continuing to work together will be critical in ensuring that this noise pollution does not re-emerge.”
According to Vallone, before Memorial Day his office will hold a meeting with the 109th Precinct and the boat watchers to go over the plan of action and what will be expected of them.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart