June 15, 2012 / Brooklyn news / Photo Galleries / Brooklyn Is Angry

Prospect Park Concert Noise

Neighbors say Celebrate Brooklyn concerts are too loud

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bass-heavy beats from Prospect Park’s popular Celebrate Brooklyn concert series are shaking homes and rattling windows in Windsor Terrace, say angry neighbors who claim the free tunes aren’t music to their ears.

Residents at 1 Prospect Park Southwest — which is roughly five blocks from the outdoor concert site — claim performers are using more speakers than in past years and creating an irksome din until almost midnight.

“We’re getting blasted with sound; it’s insane,” said neighbor Tom Prendergast.

Prendergast claims residents inside his building at Bartel-Pritchard Square measured noise coming from last week’s Jimmy Cliff concert at 97 decibels, which is about as loud as a motorcycle or a lawn mower.

Neighbors say they wish performers and concert organizers would lower the volume to “a reasonable level” of about 65 decibels, which is comparable to the sound of two people talking.

“It just doesn’t need to be that loud,” said neighbor Michael Longo, who lives six blocks away and claims he can listen to the shows without leaving his home. “You can hear it half a mile away.”

The Parks Department’s popular concert series — which this summer features performances by bands such as Hot Chip, Wilco, and Mission of Burma — has for years attracted thousands of picnic basket-hauling concert-goers to the park’s bandshell and the grassy areas around it.

But neighbors say the performances this year feature roughly 30 large speakers — four more than last year — and claim that the music lasts much longer into the night.

Paul Nelson, a spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance, said the agency is working to resolve the issue.

“I was told there were some steps we are taking to address their complaints,” Nelson said.

The spokesman did not provide details by press time on Thursday.

Prendergast say the solution to the noise problem is as simple as it gets: just turn the volume down a notch.

“It’s overwhelmi­ng,” he said.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:33 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

dorkofwindsor from Windsor Terrace says:
I own a house close to the complaining parties.

I have absolutely no problem with Celebrate Brooklyn (wish it was all year long!), except for perhaps one or two acts a year that extensively use massively powered subwoofers and and samples etc that blast a layered 20hz sine wave into colon blow territory. I would certainly not put the act last weekend into that category.

However, i think as a rule a 50hz bass rolloff on the master bus would be reasonable start, plus a true portable RTA measurement at park perimeters. Both SPL and the frequency are important to know.

If someone is living in a high rise on the circle looking to sleep with their windows open - please move.
June 15, 2012, 8:06 am
Joe from Crown Heights says:
The solution to this is relatively simple - more, directional speakers at lower volume, placed a growing distance from the stage so all the crowd can hear. For example, old Yankee Stadium had this a giant tower of massive amps in center field blaring at deafening volumes to all directions in the stadium. The new stadium now has much lower volumes coming from center field, augmented by smaller individual speakers placed all along the undersides of the decks so the center field speakers don't have to do all the work: IMO Yankee Stadium is still too loud, but it's better than it used to be. Here's how they did it at Millennium Park in Chicago - a trellis-like structure built over the seating area with a network of speakers every 70 feet: A little complicated to calibrate, and probably more expensive, but where people live nearby a park that hosts dozens of blaring concerts every year as part of a major annual festival, they should insist that the production utilize this kind of sound system.
June 15, 2012, 9:49 am
tom prendergast from windsor terrace says:
The article simply states, lower the volume, not end the program.

As far as your solution , if those who don't like it move.
I better advise my neighbors , thier only alternative to being burden with the over the top noise, is your suggestion "move"
I better get busy and start contacting those who live at,
Vanderbilt Ave.
7 & 10 PPSW.
16th St.
Windsor Place.
Howard Pl.
15th st off 8 Ave.
Prospect and 11th Ave.
18th St off 10 Ave.
PPW West from 9th ST to 17th St.
and last but not least, 10th Ave from PPSW to Prospect Ave, which by the way is where Jack Walsh the Promoter lives.

I stated, just lower the volume, don't worry no one is trying to shut down the events.
Is there something wrong with addressing a Quality Of Life issue.
June 15, 2012, 10:55 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Surely there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the impact on nearby residents, but since when is 10:30 p.m. -- the point at which all Celebrate Brooklyn shows must and do end -- "almost midnight?"
June 15, 2012, 11:34 am
Miguel Carraway from Clinton Hill says:
What kind of explanation is that from the Prospect Park spokesman? Does he know what's going on?
June 15, 2012, 1:25 pm
Malembi from BK says:
How gay is this?
June 15, 2012, 2:03 pm
TG from Park Slope says:
All this neighborhood is turning into is a buch of complainers! Hmm let's see, maybe we will comPlain about ice cream in the park because we dont know how to discipline our children. Complaints about the birds chirping too loud. Complain about every other business that gets put up! Now it's the music in the park which has been happening before all these complainers moved to this area.
June 15, 2012, 2:18 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If some of you don't mind the noise, then live there yourselves, otherwise you have no right to tell how others must live. Also, I find it annoying that anyone who thinks about those who complain are against whatever they like when they are wrong. When did any of the residents say that they wanted to end the concert series? The answer is nowhere. Just like the WTC, AY, bike lanes, or others, many try to find ways to vilify those who have concerns, while those who comment against them make it sound black and white.
June 15, 2012, 2:54 pm
johnnyboy from da terrace says:
Tg, Gee,
it must be a —— being so sensitive to other peoples concerns.
Windsor Terrace is not Park Slope, where all the limp wrist losers
congregate with their Tattooed from head to foot ladies [ LOL], go hang out with Malembi, as they say birds of a feather.
June 15, 2012, 3 pm
Brent from WT says:
depends on the show, if it's Hall & Oats, turn that sh** up!
June 15, 2012, 3:03 pm
Tilda from Windsor Terrace says:
I live in WT and am so proud of the park and all the wonderful events that takes place there. Imagine, having all this within walking distance from your home and at almost no cost. May I suggest that you take a walk over to the park with a blanket and a picnic basket and listen to the music? Or watch a movie? You may like it!
June 15, 2012, 3:13 pm
tom prendergast from windsor terrace says:
Thank you for your suggestion, but I think your missing the point, if one wants to stay in their home and enjoy the company of their family or guest, why should they be drowned out by an event that is over a quarter mile away?
If you read what I wrote you'd understand that I'm looking to have the sound lowered ,not the events cxld.
In fact I stopped by last nights show, which had a capacity crowd and to be honest, I wouldn't be comfortable sitting on a blanket in a large crowd for three hours.
Again, we just just want the sound lowered and those that don't attend the concerts won't have the sanctity of their homes disturbed..
June 15, 2012, 3:48 pm
Kathy from Windsor Terrace says:
I live right off PPSW and hear nothing at all. I guess it depends on where you live. It is for a couple of months, the shows do not happen every day and these shows have been happening since I was a child.
Back in the old days people just dealt with it, just like we have to deal with all the park visitors certain times of the year.
June 15, 2012, 5:52 pm
William from PS says:
I live on PPW directly across the st from the 11th st park entrance-pretty much closer then anyone else. Besides the music itself, I get the noise of all the people leaving the park after.

And I say bring it on, the musics never gone past 10:30 and It doesnt seem demonstrably louder than past years. How old in spirit do you have to be to tell a fantastic free summer concert series to keep the noise down. Folks 5 blocks away complaining? What a bunch of losers
June 15, 2012, 5:59 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
And I resent the people who speed up my street, and the car services who sit outside and honk their horns because god forbid they pick up their cell phones and *call* their fares to let them know they've arrived, and the people who sit on the stoop talking loudly until 3am, and the ambulances and fire engines racing around, and the ship horns at Red Hook that blast in the distance, and any one of a thousand other annoying examples of noise pollution. But then again, we live in a city, folks. It comes with the territory. If that kind of silence is your priority, it's not that far away--move to Staten Island, or the Far Rockaways, or Rockland County north of the city. Hell, you can go live with Tal in Pleasantville. Tal notwithstanding, Pleasantville is actually quite...pleasant. And as sounds go, better a free summer concert series than gunfire.
June 15, 2012, 11:51 pm
DMC from PPSW says:
I live on PPSW and yes, I thought the Jimmy Cliff concert was louder than usual. I noticed the larger acts "play" louder than the non national acts. But you know what, if the music is bothering me, I either close the window or turn up the tv or ipod. The concerts end by 10:30 and isn't this the city that never sleeps? Get over it.
June 16, 2012, 5:05 am
johnnyboy from da terrace says:
It's a beautiful day out there and I'm sitting in my back yard having a morning coffee and decided to power up my laptop and look for a few laughs.

Well I found them in the last three posters,
Willie from PS, who lives directly across from the band shell stated he is subjected to the loud volume from the band shell along with the few thousand free concert goers that mill around his residence after the event and he's ok with it.
He then closes by calling other posters losers.
Willie, a loser is someone who's subjected to a negative situation and doesn't respond to it.
So, i wouldn't call you a loser, but think your suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome.
Yeah, I know you've never been to Stockholm or even have a passport, just check it out and become an understanding sloper.
I normally would agree with you that a free [ there's that word again] concert is better then a gunfight- But some of the third rate acts they present suck and a good gunfight would spice up the evening, but again the concert are free.

You close your windows and raise the volume on your TV.
HUH!, is that a new technique to drowned out sound, close your windows and raise the volume in your home.
If you do that with every event you're subjecting yourself to more shut downs then my Uncle Carlos ,who's been vacationing at Rikers Island for the last three years .

Look folks I hate to say it , but , The times they are a changing.

Just keep the laughs coming.
June 16, 2012, 8:24 am
Resident from Windsor Terrace says:
Lets be real, the reason why Mr. Prendergast doesn't want to move is because he probably lives in a rent controlled apartment on Prospect Park South West
June 16, 2012, 9:20 pm
tom prendergast from windsor terrace says:
Dear Mr/Ms Rent Envy,
The reason I don't move is simple, I have family and friends in the community and don't feel the need to move out because someone like you, who probably pays $2500.00 or more rent and is being screwed by their landlord, thinks I should..
Let me ask you a question, if you had an apartment with a terrace view that encompassed the New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline, along with a bedroom view of Coney Island, would you move out because some second rate impresario runs third rate shows in the park?

I seriously doubt it.

So rather then be concerned about what I or other people pay for rent ,you'd be better off addressing the quality of life problems in the neighborhood.

Look, it's Sunday and I hope you and your family have an enjoyable day.

June 17, 2012, 6:45 am
William from PS says:
Johnnyboy- thanks for defining non sequiter for the rest of us. Look it up.
June 17, 2012, 7:16 am
ty from pps says:
Tom --
"Let me ask you a question, if you had an apartment with a terrace view that encompassed the New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline, along with a bedroom view of Coney Island, would you move out because some second rate impresario runs third rate shows in the park?"

No. I'd say, "Wow, I have a terrace view of blah blah blah... some noise a couple nights a weeks for a couple months months seems like a good trade."
June 17, 2012, 1:57 pm
tom prendergast from windsor terrace says:
the problem is that it's not just some noise,last nights concert ran for over four hours and closed with some screaming , not singing act that rattled through my and my neighbors apartments for close to two hours.

As I stated in earlier posts I'm not against the concerts, just the excessive levels the promoter insists of pumping into the neighborhood and my home.

Lower the the volume and everyones happy.
June 17, 2012, 3:35 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Tom, it sounds like you have an excellent place. I think almost everyone is secretly jealous. I am a bit amazed that the sound from the bandshell has the level of intensity you're reporting.

The bandshell, as it's designed, focuses sound out in a cone that points straight into the heart of the park, parallel to PPSW. PPSW is 4-500 meters away from the bandshell, at the closest. The sound intensity of a rock concert is about 110dB. So at that distance, even with a direct line from the sound source and no obstructions like trees or topographical anomalies, the sound intensity works out to around 49dB, which is more than ten times quieter than normal conversation at 60dB.

That is unless there's constructive interference and your apartment sits right on a convergence area. In which case it sounds like you're just unlucky, insofar as sound is concerned. Perhaps it's the universe balancing out your awesome view and terrace.
June 18, 2012, 1:48 am
no-permits from ps says:
Another rent stabilized tenant that feels entitled.
June 18, 2012, 7:49 am
brooklyn native from park slope says:
I grew up on PPW & my parents always complained to Park or police when our windows rattled from Celebrate Brooklyn. That's called being a participatory citizen of the community. We also very much appreciated free shows (used to feature more local artists-- now Celebrate Bklyn just wants to make events bigger & bigger). The bottom line is that people AT the concert will have no problem hearing music at levels well below which thumping bass is inflicted on those who chose NOT to attend that particular evening. Noise that loud is a health hazard to those close to it & a stressor to someone who is subjected to it against their will. Lowering the volume as Tom suggests doesn't hurt anyone!
June 18, 2012, 8:21 am
tom prendergast from windsor terrace says:
Good morning Scott.

Finally a voice of reason.

The problem is the speakers are outside the cone and the sound not only travel west, but to the north and south of the seating area and can be heard for up to almost a half mile away.,
In fact, the Promoter mentioned he added additional speakers for the Jimmy Cliff Concert to go along with the 30 they already have.
Talk about overkill.

Scott, I'm involved with others and we will have the sound lowered to an acceptable level, that doesn't interfere with our Quality Of Life.

June 18, 2012, 8:53 am
tom prendergast from windsor terrace says:

You sound like one of those rent poor folks.

I don't feel entitled, but am entitled.

so, whine on!
June 18, 2012, 8:56 am
matt from the cheap seats says:
Tom, you and your fellow complainers need to suck it up. It's a few days a year. you live in a big city. Get over yourself and buy some damned earplugs.
June 18, 2012, 4:07 pm
tom prendergast from windsor terrace says:
Thanks Matt,
It's always nice to know that there are people like you out there giving friendly advise.
June 18, 2012, 5:10 pm
Robert from Dyker says:
While it really has nothing to do with the issue at question I did notice that Mr. Prendergast did not disabuse us of his possible rent controlled status. So... I would have to emphatically concur with Ty from pps. As my son would say, you have a first world problem Mr. Prendergast.
June 18, 2012, 7:29 pm
Jake from Park Slope says:
Why the preoccupation in this thread with how much rent Tom pays? Who cares? If he owned a condo than suddenly his concerns would have more validity? Sounds like a lot of Newt Gingrich wannabes here going way way way off topic. Either the music's too loud or it ain't regardless of the rent or income levels of the people living alongside the park.
June 18, 2012, 9:08 pm
Jake from Park Slope says:
Why the preoccupation with Tom's rent? Talk about going off topic? If he owned a condo or a brownstone then his complaints would have more or less validity? Who cares? Give me a break. We got a bunch of Newt Gingtrich wannabe blowhards here. Sheesh.
June 18, 2012, 9:12 pm
tom prendergast from windsor terrace says:
Good Morning Jake,

Your right my rent has nothing to do with the problem at hand.
I think those who are obsessed with my rent should be required to post theirs when inquiring about mine and for once in my life I'd be delighted to say " yours is bigger then mine"

June 19, 2012, 6:40 am
Ken from Park Slope says:
A few quick corrections to the hyperbole in the article. As an engineer who has had the privilege of mixing at CB over the past 10 years I can say the following. No show is allowed to exceed 95dBA at the mix position. The house engineer has two calibrated decibel meters. One is for the visiting engineer the other for him. I've never been allowed to exceed that limit. The logarithm of sound over distance means the levels mentioned in this article are false. For each doubling of the distance from the PA the volume drops by 6dB. Second, no show I've ever mixed at CB has been permitted to run past 10:30pm.
Lastly, in the past four years delay speakers were added so that the main sound system was run at a lower level.
June 21, 2012, 9:40 pm
tom prendergat from windsor terrace says:

the Jimmy Cliff show of June 5th ran till 11:30 pm, you can check with Jack Walsh, who e-mailed me ,advising there was an opening gala event that ran an hour and a half past the 10:03 ending of the concert.

The 97.7 decibel level was taken by neighbor, who is a Capt. in the Fire Dept and is a person that knows what he is doing.

Is it possible the additional speaker that were added to the system may have altered the distance the sound traveled.

Ken, the sound is overwhelming the community and I have videos to back up my statements.

Tuesday, I was walking on the park side and was approached by a neighbor who said he spoke with Jack and mentioned the sound should be lowered.
Sorry to say, to-date, it hasn't been.
June 22, 2012, 8:14 am
Maria from Windsor Terrace says:
Ugh! I live on PPKSW and 11th Ave and my apt floors are vibrating tonight. It's too much. I didn't read all the comments, but this solution sounds reasonable: "more, directional speakers at lower volume, placed a growing distance from the stage so all the crowd can hear". How do we make that happen?? Help! This is too much.
June 26, 2012, 8:26 pm
tom prendergast from windsor terrace says:

I spoke with Colleen Ross, who is an executive at Bric, she said they would look into the problem .
You can contact her at: 718-683-5629, her direct line..

I just mailed her a dvd I shot in my apartment. which was rocking thanks to the Jimmy Cliff concert.
I recommend you have your neighbors contact her and let her know the sound levels are not acceptable.
June 28, 2012, 11:42 am

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