NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When his calls to 311 about extreme noise didn’t get any results, a Manhattan resident decided to take his case to court.

Honking, construction noise, trucks and crews banging.

Most New Yorkers simply put up with living in a noisy city, Upper East Side resident Mike Edison is fed up with it.

“The construction workers are very loud they scream in the streets… The cement trucks have to back up that’s louder than my alarm clock,” Edison told CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.

Manhattan resident Mike Edison. (Credit: CBS2)

The 70-year-old said the last straw was when a new high rise started going up across the street. Jackhammers were blaring around the clock.

He put up a fight, calling 311 and complaining to the police. He also contacted the construction company himself.

“Three o’clock in the morning on a Saturday they had 20 cement trucks… so they woke everybody in the neighborhood up,” Edison said.

“Tried to get them to stop and they wouldn’t so I sued them… found out small claims court was the best.”

The man not only sued, he won his case to end the noise according to elected officials.

“He did something I thought nobody would ever do… he got them to agree and he got paid. That is huge and I really hope that more people do it and force developers to turn down the volume,” city councilman Ben Kallos said.

Edison has no legal background, but threatened several more companies near his home at 80th Street and 2nd Avenue for noise negligence.

That includes a Starbucks, Duane Reade, and Rite Aid for not following after-hours noise codes.

He used video evidence showing loud delivery crews working overnight, some even caught on camera laughing about how much noise they were making.

In all of the cases, he settled although he couldn’t say exactly how much he got. The total is reportedly in the thousands.

Edison told CBS2 he gave most to charity.

“All I want to do is sleep through the night, had they agreed to it, I wouldn’t have used the courts.”

Edison said he feels like his neighborhood has quieted down since he took action. In the rest of the city, elected officials estimate the number of noise complaints is up by 8,000 this year compared to the same point last year.

It’s apparently too many complaints for 311 to keep up with. The city agency would not go on camera to discuss it.


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