Brooklyn Heights residents were mistaken when they complained about the noise from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Thursday evening movie series, our fancy noise meter revealed this week.
Decibel meter readings from inside the park and the Brooklyn Heights promenade above show that not only is the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway louder than Thursday’s showing of the 1954 classic “Rear Window,” the movie was completely inaudible from any spot more than a few hundred feet from the speakers.
Park officials told us that they switched speakers to try and appease the complainers, but even Heights locals at the movie were surprised to hear about the complaints last week.
“These people are pains in the a—,” said Alexis Robinson, a long-time Heights resident. “How can they complain about noise when we live above the BQE? I think the speakers should be louder.”
Indeed, the decibel meter didn’t pick up movie noise at the ends of Orange and Pineapple streets, or even at the entrance to Pier 1 at the foot of Old Fulton Street — though it did spike when a party boat blaring music cruised by.
That said, Community Board 2 fielded “swift and numerous” complaints after the first event of the series earlier this month, which has been in the adjacent Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park for 10 years until it moved to Pier 1 this year.
Park officials said they’ve been doing their best to quell the noise — President Regina Myer even sent out a letter to residents — but the protests kept rolling in after the July 8 screening of “Annie Hall.”
Granted, Grace Kelly’s silky-smooth voice in “Rear Window” isn’t an ear-piercer by any means, but the speaker volume was relatively hard to hear even when sitting directly in front of the screen on the south lawn of Pier 1. The park was packed with thousands of people, the speakers were pointed directly back at the Heights, and yet there was no sound to be heard on the esplanade.
Then there’s the BQE: at the very edge of the Brooklyn Heights promenade, we took a reading of about 88 decibels — about the same as a passing subway car on the platform. When the movie was playing at 8:30 pm, the movie was still inaudible from the promenade, and the BQE left the meter spiking to about 85 decibels.