22 Jun

Map of the Week: Noise Complaints for Parties in New York City

New York City is known for a lot. Business, fashion, science, and entertainment are all associated with New York. One thing that New York is NOT thought of, however, is peace and quiet. From construction to emergency sirens to some eight million inhabitants, there is always something making noise in the city. But where exactly is the noisiest place in the city?

This week’s Map of the Week began by looking through an interesting dataset of information known as 311 call data. According to the NYC.gov website, NYC311 is a service that is meant to provide users with a 24/7 call center where citizens can quickly and easily access government services. Launched in 2003, NYC received an almost unfathomable 100 million calls in the first five years and now receives more than 50000 calls every day. One of NYC311’s most used services is complaints issuing. Of all the complaints logged, it appears that noise is by far the most reported. And the most reported noise is that of parties and large crowds.

After looking at and mapping the data, the results were fairly surprising.There is a marked increase in the noise complaints in Upper Manhattan and the Lower East Side, West Bronx, and Williamsburg/Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. There are a few reasons for why this could be. One reason could be greater NYC311 awareness. It is unrealistic to believe that it was only in 2010 that New Yorkers realized that they could party late into the night, but now with NYC311, citizens are finally able to better report the parties, and the number using the service has grown. However, the likely greater contributor to the increase in party-related noise is economics. Areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens have undergone immense reform in the past few years, and many younger and wealthier people are moving to those neighborhoods. Gentrification has led to many previously poor neighborhoods to become hubs of youth culture and people with greater amounts of disposable income. This map shows the dramatic increase in party-related noise complaints in the most gentrified areas of New York, proving a correlation between the two. They say that New York is the City that Never Sleeps, and now we know why. Its citizens are either partying… or being kept up by it!

Made by Lewis Berger using QGIS