In a place like NYC, apparently it takes a lot. We New Yorkers live in a VERY noisy city. And sadly, most of the time it becomes the ambient noise, when in reality, it’s the ACTUAL noise. But none of us city dwellers want to acknowledge it. We’d rather pretend it goes along with the chirping of the birds and the rustling of the trees as if it’s something pleasant to the ears… the soundtrack of the city if you will. Well I won’t. Not anymore. It’s NOISE POLLUTION, ladies and gentlemen, and I am quite frankly over it!
Let’s start with the noise pollution in my own neighborhood. In general, I love living in Astoria. I’m still close to the heart of Manhattan, but far enough away to avoid some of the sounds that are unavoidable with midtown traffic. But don’t think we don’t have cars out in these parts. Oh, yes we do. And they are LOUD. Let me repeat… THEY ARE LOUD. I’m not sure why Queens people think having a car that roars at volumes exceeding an airplane at take-off is a good thing, but I assure you it’s not. And my street is one of the few that crosses over Astoria Boulevard and thus becomes a thoroughfare for every jerk who thinks he has a hot car (or crotch rocket). Think you’re cool or hip just because your car can zoom down my street with deafening sounds that practically burst my eardrums? Think again. At the end of the day, you’re just a goomba riding around in your dumb vehicle. (That’s my Italian way of saying you’re a loser who needs to get a life).
And of course we can’t forget about the noise pollution on the subway. Why do certain people think we want to hear ALL the songs stored on their smartphones? “Who Let the Dogs Out” isn’t on my playlist so I truly don’t want to hear it blasting from yours. Also, what about those people who talk on their speaker phones? Hello – where is your headset? Or better yet, just put the damn phone up to your ear like we did in the good old days of landlines! I get that we all feel like we need to be in touch at all times. I’m guilty of having my phone permanently attached to some part of my body, but even I know it isn’t appropriate to be broadcasting both sides of your phone conversation via your speaker for the entire subway car to hear.
I must also mention the noise pollution in our social settings i.e. BARS, though restaurants are by no means exempt from this ruckus. I was recently in a bar with a few friends, hoping to catch up over a few drinks. It was pretty early on a Friday night – 8:30 p.m. But there we were, in a bar SOOOOOO loud, my eyes felt like they were going to pop out of my head, the beat of the music was vibrating throughout my body, and I had to scream to be heard. The kicker was there were only like TWENTY people in the whole place! What is up with that? And it’s not a NYC phenomenon. Bars all over the globe LOVE to crank the music up to full blast—the whole “it goes to eleven” for those of you Spinal Tap fans. And when you ask a manager about it, he or she gives you a dumbfounded look, as if the manager has no idea where the offensively boisterous music is coming from. Newsflash bar owners/DJs: This is not a packed club in Ibiza. Turn the music down and let us have our friendly chit chat. My theory is bar owners figure the less we’re able to talk, the more we’ll be forced to drink. All I can say to that is, “For shame!!!”
I won’t even get into the noise pollution of people’s voices. I’m sure you’ve walked down the street and heard two people next to each other bellowing at one another, even though the tone of their conversation is pleasant. I was running yesterday and I had my headphones on with my music cranked up. (I admit I like my music LOUD when I’m running.) Even through my headphones I could hear these two ladies talking about invites to a party. Maybe all the headphones we wear 24/7 are destroying our hearing but it’s annoying nevertheless. But I don’t want to delve too deeply into this topic. Why, you ask? Because I know I contribute to it. Yes, everyone, I’ve been told that my voice… ahem... *carries*, so I’ll just apologize and say I’ll try harder in the future not to contribute to the cacophony of sounds that make our ears bleed!