Where 311 Fails, Will Blogging Succeed?

Sigmund, a resident of Brooklyn, is hearing a piercing alarm-type sound that lasts anywhere from minutes to hours on end. The sound can be heard with the windows closed. Upon complaining about this noise to the police and local authorities,Sigmund was told that unless other people complained… nothing could be done.

Now Sigmund has started a blog and is asking if anyone else hears the alarm, and, if they do to please complain so it can be stopped. From the blog:

We have asked officers from the 84th Precinct to investigate the sound. They have visited 180 Montague Street twice and failed to resolve the problem. The first time they came, they decided that the noise was coming from a door ajar on the roof of 180 Montague Street itself and left. The second time, they said it was “the whistling of the wind,” “garbage trucks backing up,” and then finally that they had no idea what it was and that it wasn’t their job to deal with it anyway. When asked if it could be defined as a disturbance of the peace or a public nuisance, they said they didn’t know and would take no further action.

Does anyone else in Brooklyn hear this sound? Can citizens “bite back?”—MEGHANN MARCO

Something Loud and Annoying This Way Comes [via Brooklyn Record]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Romiress says:

    If he is fairly young, and it is high pitched, the problem might be that he is the only one who can hear it, since it’s at a frequency too high for older people to hear.

  2. Kierst_thara says:

    This probably isn’t the same thing that Sigmund’s dealing with, but lately my boyfriend’s server (which runs 24/7) has been malfunctioning and emitting a horrible sustained beeping noise at random intervals. It’s loud enough to hear through closed doors, and believe me, it doesn’t take long before the sound becomes seriously stressful and uncomfortable to be near.

    I hope for Sigmund’s sake he can rouse up enough concern to get this sorted. If there is any computer or electronic equipment in the building, it should definitely get checked.

  3. zibby says:

    Probably tried it, but any love from 311 or the public advocate?

  4. brooklynbs says:

    Shouldn’t this be on Curbed? Guy sounds like a nutball.

  5. FLConsumer says:

    Just curious, is it one of those “Mosquito” teen-repellent noisemakers? There’s one on the south end of downtown St. Petersburg, FL on the Poynter Institute building and it absolutely ruins a good night’s walk along the waterfront.

  6. prodevel says:

    It sounds like it’s a case of disturbing the peace to me. Unless it’s so faint that it’s not quite audible with a fan turned on it’s medium setting.

    Even so, enjoying a novel might not be the most enjoyable act whilst listening to the soprano section of a piezo orchestra. If it wakes you in the middle of the night with the fan on, I call foul.

    If you can’t enjoy reasonable peace in the place you reside, I believe it’s the police department’s jurisdiction as it is for loud parties but, alas you’ve done your due dil there.

    It’s a bit disappointing that officers seemed to shrug off the annoyance, which led me to my qualifying bit above. At least you made the attempt with them.

    Unlike most I get pretty annoyed with constant barking, Northern Mockingbirds here in California and “bass-mobiles.” So I can empathize.

    Funny thing is I miss living near John Wayne airport as a teen. White noise is so much more soothing.

  7. faust1200 says:

    Well if you think you know where the noise is coming from it’s time to go Mission Impossible on their ass. I would probably use daytime since people won’t look at you strange as much during the day compared to dark. You might want to grab a hardhat, clipboard, a pair of nextel phones or radios, maybe a reflective vest and at least enough tools to “fix” this noise.(Screwdrivers, wire-cutters and wire-cutters” Just pass yourself off as the Department of Public Door Alarms or somesuch. I doubt anyone would be opposed if they thought you were there to “fix” it.

  8. John Stracke says:

    What is 311? Is this some New York thing that you assume everybody knows about?

  9. Meg Marco says:


    Nope, we had it in Chicago too. Is like 911 but for non-emergencies. You can call it for an unsafe building or a loud noise, for example.

  10. zibby says:

    @John Stracke: Yeah, sorry John. It’s a single number you can call that will get you or your complaint to the right place in NYC government/bureaucracy. It’s not perfect, but it’s big time saver over having to track the right agency down yourself.

    There was an improperly seated manhole cover outside my window that made a loud “Bonk-bonk” for weeks whever someone drove over it. Finally got fed up and called 311, they had a truck out there a few days later – no problem since.

  11. I live across from a school (PS 140) in the Lower East Side, and their burglar alarm goes off about once a month. It’s so loud and piercing that it can be heard for blocks, and my bedroom faces directly at the school. Forget having a conversation, watching TV, listening to music, or god forbid, sleeping, when this goes off.

    It goes for about 45 minutes at a time. No matter how often we’ve called 911 or 311, the most that ever happens is a cop comes out, looks at the school, and drives away, alarm still blaring.

    If anyone discovers a remedy for things like this, I’d love to hear it.

  12. Yep says:

    There is no mention of it, but can I assume they’ve already gone and looked for the source themselves? If it’s so horribly loud, it shouldn’t be that difficult to track down the source. Then either ask the responsible party to fix it or file a complaint against them specifically (or go the MI route as noted earlier)

  13. E-Bell says:

    If it’s that much of a bother, you might be able to bring a nuisance suit against the property owner.

    Keep in mind that lawyers don’t work for free, but depending on your jurisdiction, you may be able to do this in small claims court. You may not be able to get injunctive relief in small claims court, though.