Crime

NYC's Department of 'SHHHHH!'

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The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has begun to enforce a noise ordinance passed 18 months ago:

With his Mister Softee ice cream truck parked in a familiar spot, its presence announced by a sprightly metallic jingle, Costas Vamvakas was having a good day on Wednesday, the holiday business brisk despite the drab weather. But then two men pulled up in an unmarked car from the Department of Environmental Protection.

It was Mr. Vamvakas's first encounter with the city's noise police, a contingent that includes 45 environmental agents and thousands of regular police officers who are enforcing a sweeping new noise code that took effect on Sunday. Mr. Vamvakas, 24, who is part owner of a Mister Softee franchise in Queens with 11 trucks, had failed to turn off his truck's jingle when he parked at the curb, as is now required of all ice cream trucks.

The fine is $350.

While New York City's crime rate has been consistently falling in recent years, has it become so safe that "thousands of regular police officers" are relegated to chasing parked ice-cream trucks?

Granted, I oversimplify. They're targeting air conditioners too:

Barking dogs, heavy construction, garbage trucks, nightclubs, personal stereos, poorly muffled motorcycles and loud air-conditioners are all covered.

So 894 noise complaints in four days can now compete for the attention of New York's Finest with the 2340 felony complaints of the previous week.

Lesson: While catching murderers, thieves, and rapists is important, it is not nearly as lucrative as turning off grandma's air conditioner in the middle of the summer.

NEXT: Why Big Things Fail

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  1. OK, life is starting to parody the Onion far too much. I’m big enough of a man to say that I’m simultaniously overjoyed and scared shitless at this prospect.

  2. This makes perfect sense.If you pass enough laws everyone will be guilty of something.This will save the police time and money in investagations.As a bonus they can use there new SWAT toys at will.

  3. I hate those synthesized, overloud, two-bar ice-cream-truck “tunes.” What was wrong with the little tinkling bells they had when I was a kid?

    But I guess the solution is to give residents a private cause of action for nuisance?

  4. I tend to agree, but I’ll tell you what: While I like the idea of the Ice-Cream Man, I detest those Ice Cream truck jingles. They used to park outside my open window in Brooklyn on a hot day, blaring that fucking loop of “The Entertainer” or “Turkey In The Straw” for at least a half-hour at a time. I’d be inside trying to listen to music, watch tv, or just talk, and all you could hear was that shit. It drove me up a wall. I don’t know how the drivers could put up with it all day without eventually snapping and running over crowds of excited children.

  5. Must confess, noise pollution is one of those topics that test my libertarian principles.

  6. What they don’t realize is, as things get quieter and quieter, previously unheard sounds will now be evident, requiring their silencing as well, until, like a black hole, all action and activity will be sucked in and obliterated in a cataclysmic event. Which will spare the Yankees from the indignity of their disappointing season. Huzzah!

  7. I thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster every day that I don’t live in New York.

  8. Huzzah!.

    There!!! Fixed it!!!

  9. So let me get this straight. They are trying to make New York Fucking City quieter?

    Good Luck!

  10. yeah ice cream truck jingles are hell if you live in a high child concentration area.

    stereos, now, that i can almost get behind. hearing someone’s bad taste sneaking up on you from 300 feet away is pretty obnoxious after the 50,000th time.

    but still, don’t they have any pot smokers to arrest?

  11. Lesson: While catching murderers, thieves, and rapists is important, it is not nearly as lucrative as turning off grandma’s air conditioner in the middle of the summer.

    BINGO! This is just formalizing the corruption. Michael Pack is right. The point isn’t to enforce the law. The point is to make compliance with the las impossible. That way the police can shakedown anyone they cross paths with. You’ll have to pay them ‘protection’ money, but the only protection they’ll provide is from themselves.

  12. What they don’t realize is, as things get quieter and quieter, previously unheard sounds will now be evident, requiring their silencing as well, until, like a black hole, all action and activity will be sucked in and obliterated in a cataclysmic event the world becomes the paradise I’ve always dreamed it could be.

  13. What they don’t realize is, as things get quieter and quieter, previously unheard sounds will now be evident, requiring their silencing as well, until, like a black hole, all action and activity will be sucked in and obliterated in a cataclysmic event the world becomes the paradise I’ve always dreamed it could be.

    Shhhh…..I can hear your typing, you asshole.

  14. Seriously, go work in a cube asshat cops, you’ll hear typing from across the floor and wish more than anything that there was some sort of noise. I welcome car alarms as they distract me from the clucking of middle-aged women that happens between 10 and noon every M-F.

  15. Shhhh…..I can hear your typing, you asshole.

    If you read more, you’d probably have a better vocabulary.

  16. OK, who’s that breathing?

  17. Reason for this =

    new source of revenue. Enough said. NYC likes to milk the shit out of its citizens.

  18. Must confess, noise pollution is one of those topics that test my libertarian principles.

    How so? Your right to create loud noises ends at my ear.

  19. While New York City’s crime rate has been consistently falling in recent years, has it become so safe that “thousands of regular police officers” are relegated to chasing parked ice-cream trucks?

    In a word, yes.
    You really don’t expect them to fire some of the 37,000 cops do you? You can’t collect union dues from people not in the union, duh ! Obviously they have to do something all day.

  20. Your right to fart ends at my nose.

  21. I agree that the police should only enforce some laws, not all of them. Who cares if people are making an unreasonable amount of noise?

  22. Shhhh…..I can hear your typing, you asshole.

    If you read more, you’d probably have a better vocabulary.

    non sequitar alert!!

    come on, don’t be dense

  23. So, what is the noise level of a SWAT team raid?

  24. Timothy,

    Tell Bill the if Sandra’s going to listen to her headphones while she’s working, you can listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from 9-11 while you’re collating.

  25. if only it was Silent Spring – every morning, the birds signing and chirping, chirping and singing, chirping, CHIRPING!!!

  26. if only it was Silent Spring – every morning, the birds signing and chirping, chirping and singing, chirping, CHIRPING!!!

    There is this one mockingbird that wakes my wife up every morning at about 5 AM. I have to take her at her word, since I sleep right through it.

    She’s far far away from being a gun rights person, but I think this bird may change her mind.

  27. I don’t care for the jingle either, but it’s nothing compared to fucking car alarms. When’s the last time anyone’s been fined for those? Or those monster-sized bass speakers in the trunk? Or suped-up roaring engines? Funny how the loudest, most annoying noises are all car-related.

    I agree that the police should only enforce some laws, not all of them. Who cares if people are making an unreasonable amount of noise?

    Wrong. The police should be required to enforce every single goddamn law on the books. That is the only way to curb these out-of-control legislators.

  28. “Funny how the loudest, most annoying noises are all guido-related.”

    fixed.

  29. “Funny how the loudest, most annoying noises are all guido-related.”

    Touch

  30. Add motorcycle exhausts to Rhywun’s list of asshole automotive noises. Why is it that the Japanese can build a bike that zips to 200 MPH, stops on the figurative dime, and sounds no louder than an angry beehive, while I have to live next to some jerk who thinks it the height of comedy to blat his overpriced, oversized piece of shit hog at 2AM?

    Seriously, that damn thing sounds like an industrial accident. I don’t see how straight pipes are safer for bikers, when their neighbors are all plotting to kill them because they can’t sleep. /rant

  31. Warren: I believe you have my stapler.

  32. The ice cream truck in our neighborhood is maddening. It plays a rather bland jingle, gets to the end of the loop, pauses for five full seconds, and then a babyish woman’s voice chirps “Hello-o?” Repeat, endlessly, as the truck tools up and down the street at .8 mph.

    Why do we have laws, if not to protect us from that hell?

  33. The answer to all these hypothetical ice cream truck questions is, of course:
    it’s for the children.

  34. I do wish they’d hand out more tickets over car stereo’s. If the radio in your car overpowers the radio in my car from 100 feet away, it’s too fricking loud.

  35. does this mean we can get puerto ricans to stop screaming from 2 inches of each other? I mean really.

    This isnt racist. Puerto Ricans are fucking LOUD. No joke. They talk in all caps.

  36. “Funny how the loudest, most annoying noises are all guido-related.”

    What the fuck is that supposed to mean? What if I said all the loudest, most annoying noises are nigger-related? Or spic-related? Would that be funny?

  37. “Nigger-related” is always funny, yes.

  38. What if I said all the loudest, most annoying noises are nigger-related? Or spic-related? Would that be funny?

    Sorry. Society isn’t letting you reclaim your derogatory title just yet.

  39. Any further comments with racial slurs (or comments posted by folks named after racial slurs) will be deleted.

  40. Gee, with this new noise ordinance, New York is going to be eerily quiet.

  41. With no more racial slurs this thread got real quite.

  42. Any further comments with racial slurs (or comments posted by folks named after racial slurs) will be deleted.

    “The race of man, while sheep in credulity, are wolves for conformity.” – Carl Van Doren

  43. Real New Yorkers settle these problems on their own…with escalating rounds of violence.

    Loud motorcycles = hurling water balloons filled with cheap perfume.

    Car alarms = nasty note left on car, followed up with nasty note left IN car, followed up with nasty note lest where car used to be.

    and so on

  44. guidoes aren’t necessarily italian, to be sure.

    http://www.njguido.com
    http://www.clubitup.com

  45. I live with the MTA trains in my backyard and now have had it. They added more trains, and having a roaring train go by every minute or so all day long makes Mister Softee seem like heaven!!! Yet some of our neighbors actually find the trains ounds soothing. Not me! Time to move.

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