Neighborhood Intel

July 4th fireworks in May: Noise complaints indicate NYC is getting louder

By Brick Underground  | June 30, 2021 - 2:30PM

Fireworks being set off on a Chinatown street in June last summer. This year, complaints to 911 about illegal fireworks started in May.


The Fourth of July is this weekend, but for some New York City neighborhoods, the fireworks have already started.

They appear to have begun even earlier than last summer, when the city was shut down (and nerves were already frayed). Last year, amid the ambulance sirens, New Yorkers heard a seemingly endless staccato of illegal fireworks at night. They seem to have started ramping up in mid-June, sending total complaints soaring compared to the previous year.

Until 2019, New Yorkers could expect to hear some crackle and pops—and louder booms—around late June in the days leading up to the national celebration. The past two years have been different, according to the data scientists at rental listings website RentHop, who look at NYC 311 noise complaints each year as part of an annual survey.


“This year, New Yorkers started hearing fireworks around mid-May, as the city reopened and people finally had a chance to celebrate their survival after a long, dark year,” according to the report.

It’s not just fireworks: NYC is getting demonstrably louder when measured by noise complaints, according to RentHop’s data: From March 1st, 2021, to June 14th, 2021, the city saw a total of 242,141 noise complaints, 21.5 percent higher than the previous year.

Want to know how noisy is your neighborhood? Put your cursor over the map above, which compares noise complaints during March 1st to June 14th, 2021 and March 1st to June 14th, 2020. Orange indicates an increase and yellow indicates a decrease.


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