By Andrew Brooks
I have been living with my family on 108th Street in Forest Hills, near 69th Road for about 20 years.
Gradually, over time, the amount of street noise — especially during the evening rush hour — has been steadily increasing. Specifically, I am referring to car horns.
I am more or less accepting of construction noise, ambulances and the like as being a necessary consequence of big city living. But in the case of car horns in my neighborhood — we are talking about adults who are stuck in traffic, know they cannot move yet honk their horns like frustrated overgrown children.
They disrupt the entire neighborhood and could not care less how it affects the residents. I suspect that many of these offenders live elsewhere and are just passing through the neighborhood.
By way of context, I have owned a car myself during the entire time I have lived here and maybe honked my horn once, to prevent a collision.
It has gotten so bad that in the evening, I often need to keep my windows closed and the air conditioning running to produce white noise – even on cold days. I know that thousands of people feel the same way that I do about this – they have likely despaired of getting any action.
According to the New York Times (July 23, 2017), noise isnt just a nuisance. It is also a health hazard, causing hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing), hyperacusis (an intolerance of normal sound levels) and non-auditory health effects: increases in stress hormones, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death.
We need to place this issue on the front burner. Police need to start issuing tickets. Quality-of-life violation enforcement must regain the urgency that it had during the 1990s when graffiti and broken windows laws finally began getting enforced again after years of neglect in New York.