Before you rent or buy that new home, look up and listen. One of the most unpleasant moving-day surprises is a constant procession of low-flying planes and the noise that comes with them.
In a recent study, Localize.city, the real estate data and listings site, examined airplane noise in New York City and which neighborhoods were most likely to bear the brunt of it. Specifically, the site looked at areas where noise levels exceeded 55 decibels — or roughly the equivalent of a television with the sound on low, or conversational speech. Anything higher quickly becomes intolerable: Once you get up to 65 decibels, the Federal Aviation Administration has determined, an area may not be suitable for residential use.
Using information from a 2017 Port Authority of New York and New Jersey noise-impact study and 2014-17 complaint data obtained from the Port Authority through the Freedom of Information Law, Localize.city was able to identify the listings for homes where residents would experience the most airplane noise.
With the city’s two major airports in Queens, it should come as no surprise that airplane noise was worst in that borough. In fact, the study found, one in 10 listings is likely to suffer from excessive noise.
But it’s not as simple as proximity to an airport — the more important factor is flight paths, and which neighborhoods are beneath them. In Brookville, just north of Kennedy International Airport, 96 percent of all home listings were in a zone where noise levels topped 70 decibels — something resembling the sound of a blow dryer or vacuum cleaner.
Of all the neighborhoods in New York City, these 20 were identified as having the largest share of listings where buyers may have to contend with more noise than they bargained for.