Whine connoisseurs

Williamsburg and Greenpoint lead Brooklyn in the number of complaints phoned in to the city’s 311 system — and everyone, including (from left) John Moore, Evan Sobel, John Curry, Stephanie Monseu, has his own theory.
The Brooklyn Paper
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Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents are the biggest complainers in the borough, new statistics show — and the data has locals wondering who is doing all the whining.

Residents filed a whopping 8,900 complaints through 311 since July, according to Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications statistics — 500 more reports than the next-whiniest neighborhood, Canarsie; 3,000 more complaints than supposedly whiny Park Slope, and almost three times as many grumbles as hustling, bustling Coney Island.

Who’s to blame for all the whining? Let the finger-pointing begin!

“The people who are complaining are the suburbanites who just moved here and aren’t ready to actually live in the city,” said Josh Nelkin, an engineer who has lived in Greenpoint for the past two and a half years. “It’s those kids whose parents are paying their rent — they’re the whiners, not the longtime residents.”

Forget the kids — it’s the Yuppies who are to blame, others said.

“With all of the condos going up, I bet it’s the people that move here from Manhattan that are complaining so much,” said John Moore, who was recently evicted from his loft in the artist-friendly building at 475 Kent Ave.

Michelle Azagury, a Williamsburg resident for the past three years, agreed.

“I’ve noticed a whole new sort of people moving in — maybe they’re the ones complaining because they’re trying to clean up Williamsbu­rg,” Azagury said.

Others argue that you can’t blame just the young artists or the slightly older professionals — you have to blame them both.

“The hipsters and the Yuppies that live here think they’re privileged,” said musician Evan Sobel. “They think they’re entitled to things, so they whine and whine.”

And whine and whine they did. Over the past eight months, Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents called the city to complain about everything from unleashed dogs and disorderly youth to illegal fireworks and public urination, but the biggest grievance in the neighborhood is noise, with residents filing 4,178 complaints — an average of 16.4 per day.

The most annoying noises in the neighborhood come from the residents themselves, with North Brooklynites calling the city 1,555 times to complain about residential noise.

“I certainly complained about noise when I lived there,” said Samson Young, 28, who recently moved from Williamsburg to the quieter pastures of Park Slope. “People here throw parties that are very noisy.”

When Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents aren’t whining about their neighbors being noisy, they’re complaining about the racket on the street, filing 961 complaints about street and sidewalk noise.

 ”The bars here are open until like 4 am, so those people who just bought into $700,000 ground-floor condos might have something to complain about when everyone gets out,” said real-estate broker John Curry, 26.

But it’s not just the late-night revelers that keep residents from sleeping — it’s also the early morning jackhammers that wake them up. Indeed, the North Brooklyn construction boom is not only visible, but audible, causing residents to phone in 1,072 commercial noise complaints.

  “I don’t mind the noise from the parties, but I do mind the noise from constructi­on,” said Amanda Merten, a Parsons School of Design student who called 311 this year to complain about heat in her building. “The construction wakes me up in the morning.”

Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents called the city 758 times to report problems with streets and sidewalks, 530 times to complain about traffic and illegal parking, 491 times to whine about blocked driveways, 426 times to request graffiti removal, and 270 times to raise their grievances about damaged, dangling or missing street signs.

Despite the fact that residents filed an astounding one-and-a-half complaints per hour, some members of the community say the complaints are justified.

Especially when it’s their complaint.

“It’s not whining,” said Stephanie Monseu, a circus owner who called 311 to report broken streetlights and crimes on her block. “There are legitimate concerns about the rents that are paid to live in this neighborhood and the lack of city services that are provided here.”

The Complainers

O, 311, 311 on the wall, which is the whiniest neighborhood of all? The latest figures from the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications show that Williamsburgers and Greenpointers complained the most, phoning (or web-bing) in 8,900 complaints since July, 2007 — about 500 more complaints than the second-most annoyed neighborhood, Canarsie/Flatlands. Here’s what ticks off North Brooklynites the most:

Noise: 4,178

Lost property: 651

Street and sidewalk condition: 758

Traffic and illegal parking: 530

Blocked driveways: 491

Graffiti: 26

Grand total: 8,900

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

William Lee from Williamsburg (East) says:
I think this distinction is something to be proud of, actually. I don't see calling 311 as "whining", but rather as a manifestation of community spirit, participation, pride, whatever you want to call it. Many of us moved here from other parts of the City because of the quality of life available here. This includes everything from the low-rise skyline (did you see the full moon last night?) to riverfront proximity, access parks and recreational facilities, and, yes, the diversity of people and the creative energy to be found here. If that gives us a sense of "entitlement" and involvement -- if we actually care about quality-of-life issues like noise and vandalism and garbage in the streets -- then I am proud to be a member of this community. What some now call "whining" used to be called "civic pride". Calling 311 to report issues is not a selfish act: it is meant to be for the benefit and betterment of the entire community.
March 21, 2008, 5:40 pm
Simone from Williamsburg says:
I'm all for whining. If somebody is being a dick, you should complain. My neighbors are blasting music at 5:00? I'm complaining. It's better than a hatchet in their door, which is the next step. Oddly, the 'panel' comments here suggest that it is the yuppies, urbanite, suburbanites, and 'new' residentialists that are responsible for all the whining; yet, look at the panel. See anyone who might fit the above description? Bunch of whiners.
March 27, 2008, 9:47 am
Holly from Williamsburg, 10 yrs says:
I am one of the callers to 311. Not just once, but no less than 15 times about sidewalks and construction. I don't think I was whining at all, it was completely justified. One sidewalk didn't even have dirt underneath it!! When the street started sinking, I wondered if my calls where being heard at all. I love this neighborhood, but not happy about many of the changes. And I must add--people!
March 27, 2008, 11:07 am

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