I live across the street from a very lively bodega. Usually people just hang out and talk, but later in the evening the guys get a little rowdy, shouting at friends and horsing around. There is also a problem with people double parking to run in to the store, leaving their radios blasting while they're inside. I am woken up four or five times a week by this and, after several months in this apartment, am pretty desperate for a full night's sleep.
1. Because there's no single offender (or a regular group of them), can the DEP do anything about this?
2. If they can't, can I make my landlord install soundproof windows? It's a long shot, but it would be nice....
3. If that doesn't work, do you have any good, reasonably inexpensive, temporary soundproofing ideas? Would covering the windows with some kind of foam insulation work? It doesn't matter if it's ugly--because the bedroom windows face the street, I always have the curtains drawn anyway.
The short answer is you should probably talk to your landlord, although be warned that your landlord isn't obligated to soundproof your apartment. There isn't much the DEP can do, either, if there isn't one regular offender. (You can call 311 to lodge a complaint; they would then send a letter to the bodega to warn them to keep it quiet, which might prompt the bodega owners to tell their customers to quiet down.)
Soundproofing the windows with foam or, more cheaply, old rugs might be a feasable option, but be sure to check with the landlord first, to make sure that it doesn't violate building codes to block windows or render them difficult to open.
We also have lived in first floor apartments near noisy bodegas. We can suggest that, alternately, having some kind of white noise in the apartment also helps drown out outside noise and helps us sleep sometimes. (This could be anything from one of those little white noise machines to turning on a fan or the radio.)