New Yorkers Scream For Quieter Ice Cream Trucks

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New Yorkers registered more than 1,800 complaints this year to the city's 311 system about Mister Softee ice cream trucks' "unrelenting demonic jingle." (Hoboken.com image)
New Yorkers registered more than 1,800 complaints this year to the city’s 311 system about Mister Softee ice cream trucks’ ‘unrelenting demonic jingle.’ (Hoboken.com image)

New Yorkers are salty with Mister Softee soft-serve ice cream trucks over the sweet treats vehicles’ noise. The incessant jingle of the familiar ice-cream truck melody is driving many to scream for quiet instead of ice cream, according to a DNAinfo, which reviewed noise complaints made to the city’s 311 system.

Residents have made more than 1,800 complaints about Mister Softee this year — 200 more than in 2013 — and they are frustrated over the city’s lack of action to stop these noisy neighbors.

”The repetitive ice cream truck music is driving my wife and I insane,” one Washington Heights resident wrote back in April. “It doesn’t wax and wane — at some point between 9 and 10 p.m. every night since the start of Spring my wife and I have been greeted by this unrelenting demonic jingle.”

It is a city-wide problem, as complainants from all five boroughs have called 311 or logged their displeasure online, records show. This year, the system received 537 complaints in Manhattan, 514 in Queens, 417 in Brooklyn, 316 in The Bronx and 18 in Staten Island.

New York’s Department of Environmental Protection can issue tickets for excessive noise and parked trucks, but enforcement is often difficult as they are nearly ubiquitous in the city. The volume violators are additionally hard to catch in the act because they can simply drive away or lower the sound briefly, only to turn the volume back up after officials have left, leaving residents right back where they started.

“The DEP is a catastrophic failure and the entire department should be dismantled,” one Bronxite wrote in June. “I wish you hell on earth for not doing your job.”

Some residents told 311 that Mister Softee trucks, a major seller of sweet treats in the city, were parking the vehicles outside of residential buildings all day and into the night. Residents are advised they can report “music or jingle from an ice cream truck that is parked, standing, or stopped,” according to nyc.gov.

Somewhat surprisingly, the number of complaints lessened as the heat and humidity of the summer wore on through July and August. Records show the highest number recorded in May, with 429, followed by June and finally August — months when many in the city use air conditioners to keep cool inside — quite possibly with the unintended and added benefit of limiting street noise outside.

Noah Zuss is a reporter for TheBlot Magazine.

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