Subway Noise Pollution and the Little Things
by Anthony Stasi
Jun 26, 2012 | 14422 views | 0 0 comments | 1005 1005 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When did it go from occasionally hearing someone else’s music on the subway to it becoming an everyday thing?

As everyday riders, most of us have accepted the fact that the manufacturers of headphones no longer intend for music to be heard by the user only. There are laws that state that you cannot bring an actual radio on to the train and play music, and with the exception of the occasional subway dancers that we are subjected to, that law has stuck.

Loud headphones, however, are no different if everyone on the train can hear the music. Technically, headphones have become boomboxes hanging from people’s heads.

The noise problem is a quality of life issue, and we know that quality of life issues matter in a grander sense. Once the small things go, so go the big things. The middle class that schleps itself onto the E, F, and A trains every day deserves better. The city goes to great lengths telling us not to drink sugary beverages, this is an area where it should be concentrating as well.

As per the Guide to New York City’s Noise Code, brought to you by the Department of Environmental Protection, here is the language regarding noise pollution from other riders and passengers:

Common Courtesy


A majority of the city’s noise complaints are reported as “noise from neighbor.” By taking the few simple steps below, you can help create a more livable atmosphere for your community. Be sensitive to your neighbor’s space and remember that one person’s ceiling is another person’s floor; try to keep noisy and disruptive activities to a minimum.

There is not much in the law about noise from headphones on public transit, and there are not even signs that discourage it. The “no radio” signs refer to actual rectangular radios, which few people use anymore.

The city should wage a public campaign that discourages the lack of courtesy in our transit system. The city goes out of its way to remind us that cigarette smoking is dangerous to our health, but how many of us need that reminder?

It is time for the MTA to turn its attention toward the quality of life issues in our transit system. If they cannot keep fares from rising, they have to clean up the ride. Since the 1970s, the subway system has gotten much cleaner. There is rarely any graffiti on trains, where it was once a staple. Focus on the small issues, and progress follows.

The Washington, D.C., subway system is not as complex as New York’s but it takes rider behavior seriously. The tracks are clean. The cars are clean. Riders in all parts of the city look at you in disdain if you bring food on to the train, which is not allowed. Our system in New York is bigger and busier, but it can be better.

Mamma Mia, It's Utah

Mia Love was born in Brooklyn to Haitian immigrant parents. She would later find her way to Saratoga Springs, Utah, eventually becoming the city’s mayor. She is now running for Congress in Utah’s 4th District.

Running as a Republican, Love has been raising large amounts of money in recent weeks. The mainstream press has been debating whether Love winning would be good way to help the GOP re-brand itself, but the Republican Party is not seeing it as a chance to re-brand, since it does not think it has a problem.

The interesting thing about this race is that African-American women who run as Republicans, and there have been more than you might think, are almost never liberal Republicans. Love is not going to change that trend.

Love’s conservative credentials fit in this particular district, and although a win for her will not signal a change in the party, it would prove that African-American conservatives can win and do have party support.

Love being a Mormon in a state like Utah doesn’t hurt either.

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