These days you'll find a Chase branch, not kids with boom boxes, on nearly every corner of the city, but, even so, New York's not exactly a quiet town: There'll always be horn-honking, engine-revving, and your downstairs neighbor's death-metal band practice. But don't be surprised if all those irritants become a bit more muted next week. Bloomberg's new noise regulations take effect July 1. Unlike Hizzoner's smoking and trans-fat bans, the 2005 noise-ordinance tweak attracted surprisingly little, well, noise. The tabloids did decry the supposed silencing of Mr. Softee trucks — they will now be allowed to blast their jingle only while on the move — but even that got only limited traction (mostly because everyone hates the damned jingle).
The big change is how the fines are assessed. Instead of the old definition of excessive noise as "unreasonable to a person of normal sensibility" (how Jane Austen), the new yardstick for a bar or club violation will be whether the noise is "plainly audible" fifteen feet from the entrance. Even dogs get hard-and-fast guidelines: Your pooch can yap for up to ten minutes during the day, five minutes at night. And so, finally, our mental picture of the Future New Yorker is complete: He's a lean, healthy, nonsmoking Chase customer, solar-powered stopwatch in hand, counting off seconds until Fido's bark becomes actionable.
Keep It Down [amNY]