Escaping New York noise – soundproofing your apartment

 

Whether you’re relatively new to New York City or you’ve been living here for most of your life, it’s never easy to adjust to the daily (and nightly) grind. No matter how many floors you walk up, street noise, snow shoveling, garbage collection, your neighbors, traffic horns and other noises always seem to make their way into your apartment – particularly when it comes time to sleep.

Of course, “soundproofing” per se generally refers to completely eliminating sound. And for those of you living in NYC, you’ll agree that eradicating sound 100% isn’t exactly possible. That’s why we’ve pulled together 3 handy hints for minimizing the noise getting in to your apartment and dealing with the city sounds around you.

#1 Sealing is believing

 

Yes, that gap between the bottom of your door and the floor really might not seem like much, but it allows for the entry of a great amount of noise. Try using a door seal or draft guard to fill the gap! Not only will this help block extra unwanted noise, it’s a simple and cost effective way to add a little extra insulation to your apartment, helping to trap warm air in in the winter. You can pick up a draft seal from Bed, Bath & Beyond for under $10! 

Image: Bed, Bath & Beyond
Image: Bed, Bath & Beyond

 

#2 A win-win(dow) situation

Do you own your apartment? While upgrading your windows is a step up from purchasing a door seal in terms of the price tag, it’s certainly a worthwhile investment. Did you know with the appropriate glass thickness and the right insulation, some windows can block up to 95% of external noise?

If you’re not sure upgrading your windows is worth your investment, you can check in with an acoustic consultant, or soundproofing specialist, to get their advice. You might like to check out Brooklyn Insulation and Soundproofing or City Soundproofing in Manhattan.

Image: Brooklyn Insulation
Image: Brooklyn Insulation

#3 The quick fix: White noise

How does adding more noise to the equation work? Generally speaking, it isn’t the noise itself that keeps you awake or wakes you up during the night, but rather sudden changes in the consistency of noise that jar you awake. White noise creates a masking effect, evening out sudden changes and helping you sleep more comfortably. You can find an interesting read on White Noise by Marpac here

While there are plenty of apps on the market for white noise, a simple table fan will suffice. The hum of a window-unit air conditioner also works great – and will keep you at a comfortable temperature at the same time! 

Image: Marpac
Image: Marpac

Events for Independence Play

The Fourth of July is fast upon us. On Monday we will celebrate the birth of US independence – you could say it was our very own Brookxit! If you’re celebrating in our brilliant borough, here are our recommendations.


brooklyn-bridge-park-fireworks-nycFire Up

For the 40th year, Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will light up the sky over the East River. Bigger and better than ever, the annual sky spectacular will wow spectators across downtown Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. From around 9:20pm over 56,000 fireworks will burst forth at a rate of 2,200 per minute. For a good viewing spot you will have to get there early – so pack a picnic and make a day of it. Be prepared to stand or sit on the ground – no chairs or large items are allowed into viewing areas. Brooklyn Bridge Park will be the prime spot, followed by Brooklyn Heights Promenade, or you could head further north to Grand Ferry Park or East River State Park in Williamsburg, or Greenpoint’s WNYC Transmitter Park. Of course if you have any friends with rooftops in the area, now is the time to give them a call! As the highest point in Brooklyn, Sunset Park is also a great option.


Cone ZoneCapture

If battling the crowds to see the fireworks isn’t how you’d like to celebrate freedom then there will be plenty of festive-fun on the boardwalk down south at Coney Island. Ride the roller-coaster, play carnival games, enjoy some fried-fare, go swimming or relax on the beach. The now in its 100th year, the famous Nathan’s Annual Hot Dog Eating Competition will chomp-off at 10am. Will anyone beat Joey Chestnut’s world record of 69 franks and buns in 10 minutes? The Coney Island Fireworks kick-off at 9:30pm and while the pyrotechnics are much more low-key than Macy’s, the beach view more than makes up for it!


parkPark It

Can’t decide who gets your vote for best Independence Day activity? Well our presumptive nominee is Prospect Park! The Prospect Park Alliance has organized a day of free or inexpensive family-friendly activities. Celebrate the holiday with a ride on the Park’s beloved 1912 carousel, from 12-6pm ($2 per ride, $9 for a book of 5 tickets, free with Alliance Family Plus membership). From 1-4pm Lefferts Historic House will celebrate America’s birthday with reproductions of one of the greatest documents ever written, the Declaration of Independence. Make yourself a plumed hat to wear while signing your own “John Hancock” ($3 suggested donation). The Audubon Center will host a free day of nature exploration from 12-4pm with Discovery Packs, bird games and a Citizen Science project.


Cultural CelebrationCapture 2
It is important to remember that when the Declaration of Independence was signed, African-Americans were still slaves. The 45th Annual International African Arts Festival (IAFF) is a great opportunity to celebrate traditional and contemporary expression of various African cultural art forms. The four-day grassroots cultural festival is a fave of local African-American and Caribbean American Brooklynites. From 10am-9pm, Friday to Monday, Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene will be transformed into an outdoor African cultural oasis with a Food Court, music and dance performances, a kids play zone, poetry show and more. What started in 1971 as a small vendor market has grown into an African Marketplace with over a hundred vendors offering one-of-a-kind, handcrafted original designs of merchandise ranging from jewelry, fashion, body products imported African fabric, artifacts, furniture, paintings and more. Entry is by suggested donation ($5).

BicyCOOL Paths in Brooklyn

May is Bike Month in NYC so it’s fitting to feature a few of the best bike paths in the borough, and with the weather finally heating it’s time to get riding!

 

041613_oceanpCarroll to Coney
We have an endless list of cool Brooklyn facts, and we just discovered something to add! Did you know… the United States’ first ever bike path was created in Brooklyn in 1894 – Ocean Parkway! Although some of the Parkway was cleared in the 1970s to make room for the Prospect Expressway, there are still plenty of trees lining this path, which makes it a lovely, scenic ride from Prospect Park to Coney Island, and generally flat and easy-going. Starting in Carroll Gardens, be sure to do a quick tour of the charming historic brownstones, then hit the path from Ocean Parkway and East 8th Street in Kensington, all the way down to Surf Avenue in Coney Island.


River Rideimage

Views of Manhattan, tours through various neighborhoods, a leisurely ride through the park and a speedy ride through the streets – the Brooklyn Greenway is ride up our alley! Obviously we’re not a fan of a PATH unless it’s in Brooklyn, and this one happens to be one of the most impressive in the city, running along the East River from Greenpoint to Red Hook. Take in the views of the city skyline, and breathe in fresh air while cruising through Brooklyn Bridge Park (be aware that the path in the park can get crowded!). The six-mile path runs from Kent Avenue to the northern end of Van Brunt Street, with plans to extend it through Sunset Park to Bay Ridge. 

 

imageBuckle Up
You’re in for quite a ride on the Belt Parkway Bike Path! Starting from Bay Ridge this waterfront path has a spectacular view of the Staten Island, the Verrazano Bridge and the New York harbor. Pedaling along the coast and through Sheepshead Bay, with the open Atlantic Ocean beside you, you’ll eventually reach Flatbush Avenue. Here you can take a right and continue over the Marine Parkway Bridge, then turn left and head to Rockaway Beach. This is a smooth ride, several miles long with sensational views.


Bridge and Borough Biking91012pulaski

Pulaski and you shall receive! About a month ago the new, improved and much-anticipated Pulaski Bridge Bike Path officially opened, taking cyclists on a safe, scenic tour through three boroughs. Starting in Long Island City, the two-lane, protected bike lane, travels across the bridge, into North Brooklyn. Cycling through commercial Manhattan Avenue then residential Noble Street, you take Kent Avenue down to the Williamsburg Bridge, and then across into the Lower East Side. With stellar views of the Manhattan skyline and a solid workout guaranteed – it is highly bikely you’ll enjoy this one!

Make Mom’s Day

One of the most important days of the year… this Sunday is Mother’s Day! Take this opportunity to spoil mom and thank her for her eternal, unwavering love and support. Spend a memorable day together at one of these events taking place in Brooklyn.


BIANCO_Sigrid-Spinnox-29Bianco Under the Bridge
Marvel with mom in the magic of human balance and counter balance, delivered by the sophisticated circus troupe NoFit State. Performing arts institution St. Ann’s Warehouse welcomes the international circus and their spaceship-shaped tent to Brooklyn Bridge Park, as they make their North American debut this month with their show Bianco. Accompanied by a live band, NoFit State will perform exquisite displays of prowess and dare right above spectators’ heads, in a series of gorgeous aerial spectacles.
2pm-8:30pm, Sunday, May 8. Tickets from $35.

 

Mother of all Brunchesmeadowsweet
You’ll show mom your aplomb by taking her to a Michelin Star restaurant in Williamsburg for an unbeatable brunch. Meadowsweet serves Mediterranean-influenced New American dishes and craft cocktails in a casually cool, bright and airy setting with a bar. For $45 you will enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine, baked goods and a 2-course brunch choosing from mains like huevos rancheros, duck pastrami hash, three egg omelet, French toast and more. Reservations required.
11am-3pm, Sunday, May 8. $45 for adults.

 

BRIDGETake a Walk on the Brooklyn Side
Demonstrate the caring and supportive qualities mom instilled in you by participating in the 5th Annual Mother’s Day Walk across Brooklyn Bridge. The Mother’s Day Walk is a NYC tradition held by Milagros Day Worldwide, a nonprofit organization that empowers survivors of domestic violence. It is a fun family day that honors and celebrates motherhood while raising awareness and funds. The day starts with an hour of Zumba and opening ceremony in Manhattan, progresses across the Bridge and ends with a multicultural family festival at Cadman Plaza Park between Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn.
9am-3pm, Sunday, May 8. $10 + Booking Fee.

 

bklyndesignFine Design
Unfortunately it looks like Mother Nature might rain on mom’s parade this weekend, so here is a fantastic indoor option that beats the trip to IKEA backup plan. BKLYN DESIGNS is Brooklyn’s premier design event, showcasing emerging designers and established brands across furniture, lighting, tableware, art, textiles and jewelry. Founded by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in 2003, BKLYN DESIGNS will celebrate the borough’s creative community at Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint with collective exhibits, pop-up lounges, installations and hands-on demos. Check out the screen printing workshop (make mom a tote!) and get mom a gift at BKLYN BUYS, the show’s curated marketplace.
9am-6pm, Friday, May 6 – Sunday, May 8. $15.