Playground Noise Getting On B’klyn Residents’ Nerves

But It Appears The City Has Already Sided With Kids, Parents

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/ CBS 2) — When you live across from a school you expect some noise but residents on Argyle Road in Brooklyn said Friday the screaming kids are getting on their nerves and now they’re threatening to take legal action.

In the fall, the P.S. 139 playground in Ditmas Park began staying open from 8 a.m. to dusk, seven days a week. The move was a part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Schoolyards To Playgrounds” initiative.

“On the weekend, let us have one day of peace and quiet,” Vera Gordon, 80, said.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports

Gordon claims that she doesn’t even need a clock to know what time it is because she can tell it’s recess just by the level of noise.

Residents said the noise from the playground is amplified because of the U-shaped school.

“Because of the form of the amphitheater [noise] ricochetes and you sometimes think it’s coming from the block in back,” Gordon said.

“I think it’s quite unfair,” resident Mary Ann Cappellino told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.

“It’s terrible, and we have it seven days a week,” resident Arlene Bonadonna added.

Some, like Mike Salgo, said Sundays should be a quiet day when the yard should stay closed.

“Give us a break. One day a week,” Salgo said.

But others in the area argued the kids need and deserve a place to play.

“That’s the place where they play. And they have fun. They run. That’s the only place where they can run,” resident Oksana Sheechuk said.

“School yards are for kids to playing. And I think they should be open for the kids to play. We don’t have other play spaces in our neighborhood,” resident Jan Rosenberg added.

The city apparently agrees. A spokesperson for the mayor told Rapoport the situation has been reviewed and the playground will remain open on Sunday.

An attorney who disagrees with the decision is considering taking the matter to court.

More from Al Jones
  • an educator

    This is a case of two rights; not a right and a wrong. Children need to play, and residents are entitled to peace and quiet. Baffles would help. The nastiness of claiming these are poor children who will never live in such nice homes is amazing. That kind of resentment doesn’t endear you to anyone, and has nothing to do with the issue.

  • RayBo

    We have a similar problem with people that built homes near a WWII airport.
    For years there were no homes withing 3 miles of the airfield. Contractors bought up the
    land around the place built homes and now…….guess what the complaint is?
    You got it! If I were a judge presiding over the suit brought against the airfield I would fine the person suing and the lawyer that dared waste the courts time.

  • CinemaPete

    Noise is noise no matter what the source. Obviously this situation did not exist all the time or it would have been an issue long ago. I suspect it’s become an issue because of keeping the school yard open 7 days a week. Residents that own property pay property taxes and have a legal expectation of minimal noise polution. It would be no different if they lived across from a factory that suddently started spewing noxious fumes. School normally closes at 3 pm and prior to the policy of keeping the school yard open the yard where the childern play would also have been closed at 3pm and that’s probably the reason it did not become an issue. Clearly, now that the yards is open 7 days a week past 3 pm it cuts into the time where people used to have quiet. It’s unfair to expect redidents across from the school tolerate the constant level of noise, just as it’s unfair for property owners to have to pay for local schools even if they don’t have children which is that case through out the city. The mayors office represent a mayor that is indifferent to the city’s residents and property owners in particular. Yes, the chidlren have right to have a playground to play, but there needs to be a balance bewtween their rights and the rights of the property owners and other residents that are inflicted with the constant level of noise. And just becuase it’s childrern doesn’t make it more pallatible. Noise is noise is noise. Perhaps those that disagree would enjoy having young children playing under their windows seven days a week and see how they feel about the matter.

  • M.M.Murphy

    An old saying “Choose your neighbors before you chose
    your house”.

    I am old too and soon will have the big quiet in the sky.

  • John


  • Rebekah

    The sense of entitlement coming from some of my neighbors is unbelievable. The majority of kids that attend that school are at poverty level and will probably never have the means to live in a seven bedroom house with a wrap around porch and a driveway. They would probably consider this a luxury problem. And when did the sound of children playing become a negative anyway? I think it’s time for some of my neighbors to channel their energy in more positive ways.

  • Mom of student

    When these residents purchased their homes this school was there. If the noise and the fact that a school was on your block wasn’t to your liking, you should have exercised better judgment and not purchased that Argyle Road home (across the street from a school!!)
    Children need to play. They need time outside of their classrooms and homes to release energy and socialize. This playground offers a safe environment to do so. Perhaps instead of taking legal action, the concerned residents should have tried a different approach. What was done is not right.

  • Jim

    I hope people won’t prejudge this issue. The acoustics of this playground really are unusual and really do amplify sound. It’s uncanny when you’re actually there, hearing it. I’m not saying that closing the yard on Sunday’s is the answer, but perhaps sound baffling materials could somehow be employed to lower the noise coming out of the yard, which is essentially a giant speaker. I feel for the neighbors who are complaining and don’t think they’re just trying to be jerks.

  • Lorraine

    The one person who they quoted is 80 years old…making me wonder if many of the people in the building are older. If that is the case I can understand their desire for quiet. However, it is easy to forget you were young once and probably had a place to exude that energy in a game of stick ball or hopscotch, and probably were just as annoying to older people. With the traffic and the changing times, these children need a safe place to play. Perhaps there is a way to block some of the noise..

  • Les


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