NJ Raises Ruckus Over NYC Pier 97 Shows

Across the Hudson River, New Jersey residents are getting a free spot to catch some of the summer’s hottest concerts taking place on Manhattan’s Pier 97—a situation that for many residents is becoming an issue. 2014 marks the inaugural year for the Pier 97 venue, located at 57th Street on the west side of Manhattan. This amphitheater was designed to project noise away from Manhattan, after residents near the former concert venue at Pier 26 complained of noise issues. However, while the new venue solves the noise complaints in Manhattan, it is projecting the sound over to New Jersey, disturbing residents up until at least 10 p.m. on performance nights.
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This year's JBL Live at Pier 97 concert series in New York City has been a thorn in the side of residents across the Hudson River, who say the shows are too loud. Photo: Facebook/JBL Live at Pier 97

Across the Hudson River, New Jersey residents are getting a free spot to catch some of the summer’s hottest concerts taking place on Manhattan’s Pier 97—a situation that for many residents is becoming an issue.

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2014 marks the inaugural year for the Pier 97 venue, located at 57th Street on the west side of Manhattan. This amphitheater was designed to project noise away from Manhattan, after residents near the former concert venue at Pier 26 complained of noise issues. However, while the new venue solves the noise complaints in Manhattan, it is projecting the sound over to New Jersey, disturbing residents up until at least 10 p.m. on performance nights.

“You get all of this concentrated sound just going right across the Hudson,” acoustic engineer Al Fierstein told CBS New York.

Fierstein, who has advised the city on a number of outdoor venues, explained that Pier 97’s speaker system projects the sound toward the river, away from Manhattan. “It bends toward the water, bounces of the water, bends down again toward the water and skips across the water the same way a stone can skip across a lake,” he explained.

However, the effect of this set up gives New Jersey residents a front row seat to the show, where many people claim the noise is so loud it drowns out their TVs and can be heard even through closed windows.

Since the JBL Live concert series started in July at the pier, local officials have received numerous noise complaints from New Jersey residents. Community Affairs Representative Mike Dugan told The Hudson Reporter that he got 11 phone complaints after two concerts in July. However, Dugan also said the concert promoters were in compliance with city regulations, but that they would still address the noise complains from residents across the river.

“After being notified of these concerns, we immediately took action to decrease sound traveling across the Hudson River, including working closely with a sound expert and to remedy the issues prior to the next series of events that commence in early August,” said Hudson River Park Trust spokesman, David Smith, in a statement. The Hudson River Park Trust oversees Pier 97.

CBS New York reported that a quick fix would be “to point speakers down toward the crowd to contain the noise, instead of up and out.”

Of course, while many residents are complaining of the noise, others are enjoying it.

“We got to see The Fray for free—it was great!” New Jersey resident Karen Samiec told DNAInfo.com. “They start early, they end early, it brings people out there to have a good time.”

The JBL Live concert series has 15 concerts scheduled between July and September this year, including upcoming shows by Lorde and Robyn.