Realty Bites

I found a NYC apartment I really like but it's loud. Will I get used to the noise?

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
May 10, 2022 - 1:30PM

Visit the apartment in person at the time of day when the noise will bother you the most. 


I found an apartment I really like but it’s near a major intersection and I’m concerned about noise. NYC is a loud place—will I just get used to it?

In New York City, it’s reasonable to expect to hear some noise outside while you in your apartment. But if you’re considering living on a major street or intersection, there are some things you need to ask yourself—because it can be loud pretty much all the time.

First, weigh how much the location matters to you. If it is a great area, it might be worth putting up with the noise, says Michael Chadwick, a broker at Corcoran. He used to live by a major intersection in the West Village. He says he rarely got a full night's sleep but living close to so many great bars and restaurants was worth it—he has lots of fond memories of living there. 

Where the apartment is in the building is also an important factor. Chadwick says to look for apartments that are in the back of the building or are on a higher floor, which are typically quieter.

[Editor's Note: Realty Bites tackles your NYC rental questions. Have a query for our experts? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]

You should also check out the condition of the windows, says Christoper Totaro, a broker at Coldwell Banker Warburg. Make sure they can close correctly, he says. If they are double-pane windows, they will block out much of the sound from outside. 

The type of building might also play into how noisy the apartment can be. Totaro says newer buildings are more likely to have better windows. But older ones may have replaced their windows, so don’t turn down a building until you’ve stood in the apartment, he says. 

When it comes to visiting the apartment in person, try to choose a time where the noise will impact you the most. For example, if you work from home, check it out during the work day. And if you go to sleep early, visit during the evening. 

That’s because you probably won’t have time to check out the place more than once in today’s competitive market, says Svetlana Choi, a broker at Coldwell Banker Warburg. Another way to find out about the noise at different times of the day is to ask tenants who live on the same floor what their experience is like, she says.

If you’re still concerned about the noise but don’t want to pass up the apartment, brokers also recommend CitiQuiet, which are inserts that work with your current windows and eliminate up to 95 percent of outside noise. Just make sure to get approval from your landlord first.

And an easier (and cheaper) solution is to buy a white noise machine, which drowns out the noise while you’re sleeping.



Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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