Posts Tagged ‘noise’

An amphitheater grows in Brooklyn

Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz is promoting plans for an expanded 8,000-seat amphitheater at Coney Island’s beachfront Asser Levy Park, but yesterday’s New York Times highlights the ongoing community opposition to the project—on the grounds of traffic, crowding, and of course, noise.

Neighbors are concerned that the existing “quiet oasis with a modest bandshell” will be disturbed by what would become the city’s largest amphitheater in a public park.  The 9-acre park’s location as a buffer between Coney Island’s famous boardwalk and nearby residential neighborhoods pits the locals’ need for peace and quiet against a broad desire for “a Coney Island entertainment district that will restore the wider area to glory.”

Although the recently-updated NYC Noise Control Code does not itself restrict amplified sound at public, non-commercial performances, opponents of the project may have found a weapon in the city’s permitting rules—which may prohibit permits for sound devices within 500′ of a church during services.  With a synagogue across the street from the park, this could preclude use of the amphitheater during Friday night and Saturday service—a potentially prohibitive restriction for a facility that aims to draw top entertainers.

(Via Brooklyn real estate blog Brownstoner)

Restaurants: the newer the noisier

Today’s Wall Street Journal features an article on noisy restaurants, and specifically why newer restaurants are noisier than ever.  Although the physical causes are nothing new—open kitchens, loud music, and hard finishes that provide little acoustic absorption—the article associates recent noise increases with the current economic downturn.  Interior style elements that traditionally absorb sound—heavy curtains, carpeting, linens, and upholstery— “telegraph a fine-dining message out of sync with today’s cost-conscious, informal diner.”

Of course, the clean, modern aesthetic sought by today’s upscale restaurant needn’t necessarily be a noisy one.  Acoustical treatments that absorb sound and reduce din don’t always take the form of plush carpet, soft upholstery, or heavy drapes; modern treatments can match almost any aesthetic conceivable, hiding behind smooth plaster, wood veneer, metal, transparent plastic, and even artwork.  Beyond matching acoustic performance to visual appearance, an acoustical consultant can  also ensure that these treatments don’t go overboard—unnecessarily deadening the lively, energetic feel that many popular restaurants thrive upon.

Noise is killing Paris nightlife

A recent article in the New York Times highlights the mounting conflict between Parisian revelers and “ever less mirthful” residents that “increasingly demand peace and quiet”.

The contributing causes—high urban density, gentrification that has more than doubled real estate values in recent years, and a 2008 tobacco ban that has sent patrons spilling out onto the sidewalks—closely parallel similar factors in New York City, where noise continues to be the #1 quality-of-life complaint. In response, the 2007 overhaul of the New York City Noise Control Code tightened limits on noise from bars, clubs, and restaurants.

In Paris, such conflicts (and the stepped up regulation that they precipitate) are forcing more and more bars and concert venues out of business, which has in turn lured musicians and DJs to other, more bohemian capitals (such as Berlin). To quote the article — “Paris may soon be dead at night.”

Thankfully, similar circumstances do not seem to have led to such dire consequences here in New York, which continues to enjoy a thriving nightlife—though not always without conflict.  Where a noise problem does occur, an acoustical consultant can help resolve it, either though improved acoustic separation, adjustment of sound systems, or both.  Many bar and restaurant operators, having faced noise issues in the past, work with an acoustical consultant in the design of any new space, to prevent these problems before they happen.