There’s More to Quality of Life than Noise Control

There are those who believe that the only way to make Hoboken more livable is to make it quiet. I say their missing the bigger picture.

Yes Hoboken may only be a square mile(ish) in size, but it can be noisy. There are those who don’t like loud noises. I can totally understand that. What I don’t understand is why they would move to a neighborhood just across the river from a place known as ‘The City That Never Sleeps’. But let’s put that silliness aside for a moment. What really bothers me is that this issue of noise is at the top of the list of concerns when it comes to the debate over quality of life. Yet noise levels are just a small part of what makes a place livable or not. In my opinion, a very small part.

To put this into perspective, recently there was a ludicrous press conference held on the banks of the Hudson River where political leaders from Hoboken vowed to rid our skies of the racket of NYC tourist helicopters. Have we lost our minds, people? Is this really what Hoboken is becoming? A once rough, tough seafaring people now overrun by a bunch of oversensitive whiners? Groups with actual names like “Stop NYC Tourist Helicopters Over NJ Side of the Hudson River” (catchy, eh) are popping up.

Helicopters? I got news for you folks. The noise of those blades should be the least of your worries. Let’s talk about true quality of life issues:

Dog Shit!!
Seriously, the sidewalks have become fecal minefields. Forget about the gross smell and the inconvenience of cleaning it off your shoes, think about the stew of diseases hovering around these steaming piles. Why is it so hard to follow the law? Have your dog do its business in the street (not on the sidewalk) and then clean up after it! Oh and to those of you who actually go thru the trouble of bagging the shit and then inexplicably leave said bag on the street; Are you fucking insane? What’s wrong with you?

Jaywalking Baby Strollers
There’s this odd practice in this town where parents (or more likely, nannies) use baby strollers as shields against oncoming traffic. With little regard for the safety of the child that is in their care, they thrust the strollers out into the street as if to say, “I’m walkin’ here! I’m walkin’ here!!” When what they’re really saying is, “I’m an incompetent boob who should not be responsible for the life of a child here!!” Some towns have started to ticket jaywalkers as much as $50 per offense. I think this would be a good thing to do in Hoboken. Imagine the revenue potential for City Hall.

Trash On The Streets
OK this is similar to my dog shit rant. Honestly, it’s trash. Throw it away properly. Not on the ground. This is more than just a nuisance or an eyesore, it can be hazardous. Broken glass can cut skin or puncture tires. Old food wrappers can attract vermin and disease. And yet, with all the bellyaching about noise, I’m constantly seeing trash being dropped and ignored by those who claim to care about quality of life. And yes the city is partly to blame. Why aren’t there more trash receptacles on street corners? This would be a better use of tax money than bitching about helicopters.

Texting Drivers
This one is a no-brainer, or at least it should be. Instead of spending taxpayer money to beg businesses across the river to stop running their businesses, the city could get more cops out on the street to get these idiots to put down their phones.

Reckless Cyclists
Running stop signs. Racing up sidewalks. Talking on phones. All that is bad enough. And then there are the tourist families riding four wide down the wrong side of Sinatra Drive with some misguided sense of safety because Hoboken is now a so-called ‘bicycle friendly community’. Someone needs to teach these people that cyclists are not pedestrians. Bikes are actually vehicles and subject to the same rules as cars. And for those of you who do these things with a baby strapped on the back; I get that you don’t care about your own safety but I’d think you’d be concerned for your child.

Road Rules
In general, the drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in Hoboken are a dangerous bunch. Not all of this is their fault, either. Sure, it can be argued that everyone needs to pay better attention out there. However, the road signage in this town is spotty at best. Try to find a One Way sign or a proper pattern in the placement of Stop signs here. And why are there practically no pedestrian traffic signals either? I’ve seen my share of daydreaming people who wander into traffic nearly mowed down by harried drivers.

Loitering Cake Boss Line
OK, I’ll admit it. This one is really just a nuisance. But these hoards of people who line up for hours at a time outside of Carlo’s — waiting for little else than to take a few pictures and eat a few cookies — are in violation of the city’s loitering laws. But I digress…

Now, if you still only want to make the argument over quality of life about noise, then let’s put all cards on our table and talk about the following:

Crying Babies
Little is more unnerving than a crying baby in the middle of the night (or whenever). I say we start a petition to ban young families from moving to Hoboken. After all, a baby crying can be about as loud as a passing subway train at 110 dB.

Barking Dogs
I love dogs, but if we’re making this fight about noise it should be understood that a dog’s bark can reach 100 dB (about the same as one of those helicopters by the way).

Church Bells
Music that is performed in my li’l cafe can barely be heard just a few doors down yet — thanks to the complaints of a new neighbor — I was told that I could face fines of $500 per day because of it. PER DAY!! Church bells can reach levels of 80 dB or more, usually go off hourly all day and are designed to be heard throughout the town. So I say we shut them down or fine them as well.

Jack Hammers
Don’t even get me started on these instruments of sonic torture. Starting at the ass crack of the morning they’re screaming out at upwards of 130 dB. That’s louder than an ambulance and nearly as loud as an airplane at takeoff.

And Those Ambulances
To hell with the sick or injured. How can our children sleep with these things racing down our streets to the tune of 120 dB or more day and night?

I could go on with these ridiculous examples, but I think I’ve made my point.

Hoboken is going thru an extreme identity change but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, does it? The new residents want to live in a clean, safe community. I would like that, too. Can we at least agree that there are more important things to worry about when moving into an urban environment than the noise of friggin’ helicopters?

See Also:
How Loud Was That Noise?

Tags: , , , ,