Disgruntled New Yorkers call 311 57,000 times per day, and last year beleaguered locals made a total of 2,021,074 calls to 311. 179,394 of those complaints had to do with noise pollution, which drives many of us to the brink of madness in all sorts of hilarious ways.
Using those numbers, which are publicly available to anyone who knows their way around a data set, a group of programmers put together a neat interactive map that lets you see which areas are the noisiest—or where residents are less willing to suffer in silence.
The data is mapped by census tract, and you can zoom in to see which street corners complaints originated from (they're marked in little purple dots). Zoomed out, the tracts are color-coded from yellow to red, with yellow spots indicating the fewest complaints and red indicating the most. It's similar to some analysis that Ben Wellington did for the New Yorker last year using older data, but this map lets you poke around for yourself and see the noise landscape through a number of filters.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Manhattan has the densest concentration of complaints, with Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Prospect Heights close behind. You can sort the map by noise complaint type, which reveals a high number of loud music complaints in upper Manhattan, as well as in the East Village. A small tract in Bushwick seems to have seen its share of noisy dogs, while huge swaths of Manhattan have registered complaints about construction going on during off-hours. You can also toggle between seasons, which shows a marked increase in complaints during the winter. The day/night dichotomy is less pronounced, though there does seem to be a slight uptick in complaints in the evening.
And there are the ice cream trucks, which got their share of complaints in Inwood, Bedford Park, and Ditmas Park—but nowhere so much as Gowanus. Mr. Softee and friends appear to be driving residents there bananas, but unfortunately for them, the trucks' jingles don't qualify as noise violations, so long as they're only playing while the trucks are in motion.
As CityLab notes, 311 complaints don't necessarily correlate with noise levels, and a recent study showed that complaints are most common between racially homogenous neighborhoods rather than within them (its authors hypothesized that callers are "reaching out to an external authority to intervene...because [they] don’t feel comfortable knocking on their door"). This map doesn't allow for that sort of analysis, but the high rate of noise complaints in gentrifying areas of Brooklyn in particular does offer some food for thought. Click through the various filters to see for yourself, and consider some of these noise coping techniques.
For more complaint mapping, this one shows you where New Yorkers complain about homelessness most.