The number one complaint from Bushwick residents in 2017 was — wait for it — noise!
While most people are quick to peg the neighborhood’s noise problem on the onslaught of new bars and restaurants, Bushwick residents are actually complaining about their neighbors way more than they’re complaining about rowdy bars.
According to data from NYC311, the agency that fields non-emergency requests from all of New York City, residential noise complaints make up around 15 percent of all Bushwick calls in 2017, while noise complaints about businesses account for only 3 percent of calls.
This means that Bushwick residents are complaining about their neighbors five times more often than they’re complaining about bars. Should this come as a huge surprise?
“I mean not necessarily,” said Celeste Leon, District Manager for Community Board 4 and who grew up in the neighborhood. “Historically, it’s been a small, family residential area.”
After noisy neighbors, Bushwick residents are complaining most about street noise and blocked driveways. Last year, calls about heat and hot water were the second-biggest issue after neighbors. This year, it didn’t crack the top three.
Bushwick’s transformation from a quiet residential neighborhood to the second “hottest neighborhood” in the country could certainly have something to do with the neighborly strife.
Bushwick’s rapid growth shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, what we’re seeing now is just the beginning.
New luxury buildings are popping up everywhere to house future Bushwickers. Along the border of Bed-Stuy and Bushwick, scores of buildings now line Broadway that boast amenities like roof decks, balconies, and communal lounges. At the Rheingold Brewery redevelopment site, three developers have projects spanning ten blocks. One of the most striking projects on the site — a building at 123 Melrose St. — will include between 800 and 900 rentals. Twenty percent of these will be dedicated to affordable housing, according to reporting by Curbed New York.
As of the 2010 census, Bushwick was already one of the most densely populated areas of Brooklyn, with about 56,000 people per square mile. Comparatively, Greenpoint and Williamsburg had only around 37,000 people per square mile.
It is worth noting that with almost 50 percent of these noise complaints, the cops showed up and “observed no evidence of the violation at that time.”
So, is the noise in Bushwick actually bad enough to warrant all this complaining or are there just whiny neighbors among us?
Unsurprisingly, loud neighbors are an issue everywhere. It’s also the top complaint in Bed-Stuy/Stuyvesant Heights and Williamsburg/Greenpoint, the two community boards with the most complaints in Brooklyn. In Bed-Stuy/Stuyvesant Heights, heat and hot water complaints come in second behind noise. In Williamsburg/Greenpoint, it’s noise from bars — not residences — that drives people up the walls the most.
Cover image courtesy of Clem Onojeghuo