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Expert: Noise Generated By Protesters At Zuccotti Park At Dangerous Levels

When Drums Start, 121 Decibels Measured; Nearby School, Restaurants Livid
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Occupy Wall Street noise

An expert measured decibel levels at Zuccotti Park on Nov. 9, 2011, only to find alarmingly high decibel numbers. (Photo: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The noise and drumming at “Occupy Wall Street” could actually be dangerous. That’s the opinion of a noise expert CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer took to Zuccotti Park on Wednesday.

However, Mayor Michael Bloomberg still appears to be tone deaf to the problem.

It may be music to the ears of the Wall Street protesters, but the drumming and other noises at Zuccotti can reach dangerous levels. Noise expert Alan Fierstein used a decibel reader a recorded an ear-splitting reading of more than 121 decibels — compared to only 79 before the drums started up.

“It will reduce your threshold of hearing. In other words, it gives you temporary hearing loss. Continued long enough it become permanent hearing loss,” Fierstein said.

Kramer found the reading across the street near a bank of restaurants still high — 107.4 decibels. It’s so loud they’ve had to keep their doors closed.

“The noise too much. We can’t take it, driving me crazy all the time,” restaurant worker Ricky Martinez said.

Even at a high school diagonally across the street from the drummers the noise level was 30 decibels above what it should be which experts said can certainly impede learning.

“Thirty decibels is roughly eight times as loud as the sound that should be in a classroom,” Fierstein said. “It interferes with people’s ability to hear the teacher, to concentrate.”

City Council member Margaret Chin said she is inundated with noise complaints from her constituents who live near Zuccotti Park, but the city isn’t doing anything.

“We want Mayor Bloomberg to do something to help alleviate the noise,” Chin said.

So Kramer put the question to Mayor Bloomberg.

Kramer: “Today, we went down with a noise expert who measured the decibel level.”

Bloomberg: “Way to go. We would have done that for you. You didn’t have to go and spend Channel 2’s money.”

Kramer: “But the question a lot of people in the community have is why not enforce the code?”

Bloomberg: “We can take away the drums and take away the people and you won’t have the noise. We’ll refocus our efforts. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. It’s really useful.”

But while the city dithers the beat still goes on at Zuccotti Park.

Although the drums are limited to certain hours, Councilwoman Chin said the protesters play other instruments as late as 1 a.m.

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