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BU student: If you don't like noise, don't live near a university

Also: Brookline police are mean.

A Brookline resident responds.

Students meet with Brookline police to address arrests - 18 near Egmont and Thatcher streets since Sept. 1.

Neighborhoods: 

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Comments

I hate Brookline so much, and crap like this is why. Its such a classic move for them to post a cop on two student streets and harass young people all day - like all of a sudden they're going to break their leases and move away.

Ask anyone who lives there what its like to deal with neighbors - from walking a dog to having parties to rennovations/home repairs - and all you'll hear are stories about awful, rude people who act like they live in a 100 acre estate on Beacon Street and don't appreciate you trespassing on their land from your own home.

Students pay rent just like everyone else on their street, but the people of Brookline has such an inflated sense of self-entitlement they assume that they're needs far outweigh those of the students. After all, they're just students.

Hey Brooklinians(?) Brookliners(?) whatever you're called - your town sucks. Sorry you have to deal with the trials and tribulations of city life - if you don't like it move to Dover.

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Students who hate having to consider the neighbors when they have parties, renovate apartments, and stroll their poopers hate it! And they have such guilty consciences about their perpetual rude and childish behavior that they feel culpable all over when they see a cop car parked on the street - unlike legitimate, law-abiding residents who would be thrilled.

Next step:
Why don't you leave and take your bum friends with you?

Living in the city doesn't mean you have a license to treat your neighbors like shit because you don't know them. Just because you have escaped the stifling confines of your parents' house doesn't mean you can treat the city like a shag-carpeted rec room with no rules. Other people already live here, and we know our neighbors and try to respect their boundaries, because that's how people get along in a city. If you don't like it, please leave.

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Students pay rent just like everyone else on their street, but the people of Brookline has such an inflated sense of self-entitlement they assume that they're needs far outweigh those of the students. After all, they're just students.

Excuse me?

A mentality that is essentially "we want to move into this neighborhood, ignore every basic expectation of civility, and make the well-being of others in our community subordinate to our own because we so desire to." is pretty much the definition of entitlement.

Colleges have encroached on almost every neighborhood in the city. It's almost impossible to live anywhere that is not considered "near" one school of higher education or another. Just because you want to point to that as an excuse (and believe me, it is nothing but) to charge into a neighborhood, act irresponsibly in the exclusive pursuit of your own pleasure does not give you the right to, nor will it bring about any sympathy from anyone who hasn't just emerged from their parent's subdivision for the first time, or has yet to shed the mental trappings of the coddling they received there.

The sense of entitlement often imparted on children by their parents continues when they are left to their own devices in the city, and unfortunately, for many of them, seems to continue into adulthood as well.

"We're here, expect us to behave badly and deal with it." is simply not acceptable. Many students need to grow up and realize that wanting to do something does not give them the right to do so. Until they do so, they can face the police each and every time.

On a personal note, due to financial considerations, I was unable to enter college until I was 24. I'm 25 now, and I have to say that I really appreciate the well-deserved reputation that students have earned around here. Apartment hunting is tons of fun when you simply want an inexpensive (by Boston standards) place where you are rather unlikely to run into violent crime and want a reasonable assurance that you will not be awoken at 3 am on a Wednesday by students shouting, breaking glass, playing music or standing outside your bedroom window yelling into their cellphone for two hours.

Yes, I lived on my own without any financial support working 50-60 hours a week for quite a while, I developed a good sense civility and respect for those living around me, went into the process with good references, but found that getting into a quiet place was like pulling teeth once the 'S' word came up.

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Some of the people that live on your street might have been there before you and your student friends came along? I live in a neighborhood in Brighton that used to be all families. As the 4 major colleges have grown over the years the demand for housing has increased.The old ladies in the empty houses die, there children cash in selling the house to professional landlords and the next thing you know.....students living in Mrs O'Dooley's house. Next thing you know Mrs Dooley's house is the weekend kegger.Now Mrs Celluci next door decides she has to sell her house because of the noise and all the strange people coming and going at all hours.The same slumlord buys Mrs Celluci's house and now you have two houses that used to house 8-10 people housing 15-20 people.Now you have two keggers every weekend. The weekend starts Thursday night and goes right through Sunday. People are urinating in my yard and peoples cars are being damaged by all the drunks drifiting in and out of the party houses.My point is that these neighborhoods were not always college neighborhoods.Even the ones only a couple of blocks away from the schools. The schools have grown and the housing needs have increased.Bottom line is tha you should treat your neighbors the way you would want your parents neighbors in NJ or PA might to be treated. Stop acting like you are 20 years old and you know everything about life.Respect other people and maybe we can all get along.It might not be your fault but the students of past years behavior has made it harder for you now. Act like grownups and I am sure the scrutiny will lessen.Peace.

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Right on bostonkid. Anyone who lives in a neighborhood, student or not, has the responsibility to be a good neighbor. That means being considerate of your other neighbors in terms of your own behavior and the behavior of your guests. If you want to have loud parties late into the night or otherwise behave in ways that your neighbors don't appreciate, go live on campus. If you want to be an adult and live off campus then behave like an adult and don't pretend like your other neighbors are stuck up or uptight just because they don't want to get woken up at 1am by noise.

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I went to BU and now 15 years later I own a house in Brookline. Let me tell you how happy I am I bought here and not Boston. I have on either side of me two homes that are rented to students. The landlord is a self serving selfish bastard, so he wouldn't care what these kids do, but thank god the Brookline Police do.

Aside from the routine keggers (hey kiddies, thanks for vomiting on my front door!) one year they decided to hold a very large party on Marathon monday. They had a live band with a sound system in the garage, and were charging admission to get in. They had a bbq set up in MY driveway. I tried to ignore the commotion as it was Marathon monday, but at about 7pm the fist fights started with stupid drunk boys going at each other. We called the cops, they did little. They seemed overwhelemed by the marathon.

By 9pm, I had had enough. I went into my driveway and hurled the BBQ across the fence. Then I went into their garage and yanked all the wires out of the sound system. That was the end. Stupid little spolied drunk boys stood there shocked.

After that, I wrote to the police chief and made myself very clear. Since then, each year the week before the marathon, they come to my block and talk to the students about parties. Now, the parties are under control - people having fun, but not destroying anything in the process.

And this year, the first week of Septmeber, the cops came, knocked on all the doors and gave the children a nice lecture. And you know what? Its been so nice and quiet here. One weekend, the kids next door did knock on my door and asked if it would be OK for them to have a party one night. As it happened, I wasn't going to be home, so I told them they wouldn't bother me.

Wow. Students asking permission for a party, respecting my property, being cordial. Amazing.

Had these things happened in Boston, I would have no doubt by now simply given up. I think the police here are doing a fantastic job. I don't for one second believe the whining of innocence from these babies.

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Congratulations for handling a nasty situation calmly, and then writing to the Chief of Brookline Police about it. It sounds like you got everything under control. The Brookline Police have been known for years for their toughness. It sounds like they did a great job.

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Evidently, every student is a villain and every permanent resident, a saint.

The students who are just stepping outside to take in some air or a cigarette or carry a six-pack to their house to drink with dinner each night for a week shouldn't be getting told to "get inside or leave". The house abutting my backyard used to have frequently loud parties running late into the night. On one particularly egregious date, I went to the fence and asked them to keep it down so that I could sleep. They did. Problem solved. Cops on corners jumping the first student to be outside for more than 5 minutes are not the answer that permanent residents should be looking for. There is no curfew and it's not illegal to be using the building/lot you are renting in a non-obtrusive way.

When it does rise to the level of being a problem, a calm personal request could go a long way to solving the problem than calling police or requesting one to be located on your street all night. Of course, that would require you to determine which *people* are problematic and which ones are not (and imagine that, sometimes they're not students but high school/college-aged children of other permanent residents or even young professionals not attached to any college!). Take each problem as it comes. Treating all area students as miscreants without evidence is anti-thesis to the sort of community and atmosphere you were hoping to generate by treating the police force as attack dogs.

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"When it does rise to the level of being a problem, a calm personal request could go a long way to solving the problem than calling police or requesting one to be located on your street all night."

Oh, really??!? Unfortunately, a calm personal request often fails to work. There are some people who really can't be reasoned with and who need to be given a firm hand.

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I went to BU, and then I lived in Kenmore Square for 14 years after that. Yes, the students could be a little more neighborhood friendly and a lot more quiet. However, if you are non-student-american living in what is essentially the outskirts of a college campus, stop your whining.

It's like living next to Fenway Park and whining about the roar of the crowd.

Folks need to get a grip about the reality of the neighborhood and make living decisions based on it.

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Is that colleges keep expanding and encroaching on the surrounding neighborhoods and what was once a non-student-infested area suddenly becomes one when Harvard or BU or BC or Northeastern starts snapping up apartments and property left and right

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Are Boston's universities a form of Dutch Disease for Boston/Brookline/Cambridge? Easy money pour in and prop up essentially improductive economic activities that raise the cost of living and doing business without improving the productivity of the city's overall economy.

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"colleges keep expanding and encroaching on the surrounding neighborhoods and what was once a non-student-infested area suddenly becomes one when Harvard or BU or BC or Northeastern starts snapping up apartments and property left and right"

Thanks for pointing out a problem so articulately, adam. The reason that colleges keep expanding and encroaching into surrounding residential neighborhoods, hereby expanding student enrollment is because they're totally into making money hand over fist. If they'd put a cap on annual student enrollment, they wouldn't keep expanding into neighborhoods so much, causing disruption and destroying a neighborhood's overall character. It's a small wonder that the long-time/life-time residents are getting up in arms and saying "Enough is enough!!"

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These arguments scream of the elitism Brookline is so famous for. You have no problem with cops posting on your street every weekend, hassling anyone under 25. How would you like to have to take a sobriety test while trying to walk home? How would you like to spend the night in jail because you fill a profile?

18 people have been arrested. EIGHTEEN. Booked, fingerprinted, photographed, and thrown in a cell for the “Crime” of being outside in Brookline. Who knows how much noise they made? Were they simply having a cigarette outside? Were they on their cell phone? Were they intoxicated and walking home? Who knows what “crimes” your cops have made up to arrest people? 18 people sent to jail, God knows how many more intimidated and threatened. And that’s exactly what this is - this isn’t policing, its intimidation of a weaker class of people so that they know they’re not welcome and hopefully go away. These past few months have proven that groups of 2 or more people under 25 are subject to arbitrary police confrontation in your town.

Normally when a certain group of people are targeted by police its illegal – but since no one likes those college students its considered acceptable in Brookline.

That’s basically what your posts are saying: We don’t want college kids. They’re scum. Get them out of our neighborhood. Send them to Allston where they belong. Also, I love this line from that last DFP article:

“"Right now, if a house is being too loud, the police just bang on the door or give them a warning," Dopazo said. "We want to see if there is something more effective that the police can do to stop the noise."”

More effective? Like raid the place? Maybe you can station a SWAT team on Egmont for rapid reaction. The Fourth Amendment does not apply when your beauty rest is as risk. But hey, coming from a town that’s 80% white, I’m not surprised.

Again, your town sucks. The posts above have proven its a statement of fact at this point.

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So absolutely none of those kids were doing anything that, um, warranted their arrest?

I'm not a Brookline resident, so have no opinions on Brookline police, but I find it hard to believe that Brookline police really are devoting all their resources to pushing college kids into Allston.

But lemme tell you, kid, as a former 12-year resident of a student-heavy section of Brighton, I have to say that your right to party ends at my need to wake up early for a meeting the next morning. Sorry, but not all BU students are saints (quick: Go to Google News and search on "bu student").

Nice touch bringing up racism. I wasn't aware that obnoxious 19-year-olds from Lawn Guyland constituted a protected class under federal discrimination laws.

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Pardon my language, but are you fucking kidding me?

I lived in Brookline from age 23 to age 27. I stayed out late, threw parties on weekends, smoked on my front porch, and never once even *met* a Brookline cop. But then again, I told my neighbors about the parties and recognized that there's such thing as keeping my damn voice down in a residential neighborhood.

I CALLED the cops once to ask them to make a party that had spilled over into my apartment building's parking lot move back inside. The kids were clearly college students celebrating the end of the semester, but it was a Wednesday night, so I said, "I really don't want to get them in trouble; I just want them to go inside." The cops came, said, "Hey we need you all to head inside and try to keep the noise down," and that was it. No ridiculous gestapo tactics like you're implying.

And to call Boston students who are obviously wealthy enough to afford off-campus housing in one of Boston's most expensive suburbs "a weaker class of people" is both ignorant and insulting.

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You are rediculous. Do you have any basis for suggesting that there is a racial element to this or that Brookline Police are just picking up students without probable cause? Give me a break. There are plenty of people who actually need protection against civil rights abuses. Students who don't want to be good neighbors aren't them. And frankly, if people aren't being good neighbors and are doing things that are disturbing people from their sleep, or that are harming other people's property, they deserve a visit from the police regardless of whether they're a student or not. This isn't a student v. resident issue. Its an issue of maturity and of taking personal responsibility for your behavior when you live in the real world. If you think people should just put up with loud parties, garbage on the streets, fighting, and other such behavior because its "city life" you need to grow up.

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If people are being good neighbors and are not disturbing others nor harming property, then do they deserve a visit from police?

Because that's what is happening if you happen to be a 20-30 year old hanging out on those streets in NE Brookline these nights.

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I will concede that if the Brookline Police are literally walking up to young people who are just walking home from the grocery store and asking them what they are doing in the neighborhood, or are knocking on people's doors in the middle of the night and asking them what they think they are doing living there then, yes, there's something wrong with that. Moreover, if neighbors are calling the police on students when students are literrally asleep at night just to harass them then that falls into my category of being a bad neighbor and the student or young person should feel free to inquire with their neighbor as to why they called the police. My earlier comments go solely to people's behavior regardless of whether they are a student, a young person, or a "resident."

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Normally when a certain group of people are targeted by police its illegal – but since no one likes those college students its considered acceptable in Brookline.

"That’s basically what your posts are saying: We don’t want college kids. They’re scum. Get them out of our neighborhood. Send them to Allston where they belong. Also, I love this line from that last DFP article:

“"Right now, if a house is being too loud, the police just bang on the door or give them a warning," Dopazo said. "We want to see if there is something more effective that the police can do to stop the noise."”

More effective? Like raid the place? Maybe you can station a SWAT team on Egmont for rapid reaction. The Fourth Amendment does not apply when your beauty rest is as risk. But hey, coming from a town that’s 80% white, I’m not surprised.

Again, your town sucks. The posts above have proven its a statement of fact at this point."

That's not being very smart, Brendan!!

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A big part of the problem is the fact that many college and universities in the area are so into making money hand over fist that they keep expanding their student enrollment, hence the resulting expansion of colleges and universities deep into the heart of nearby neighborhoods. That, in itself, contributes greatly to the problem of many (but not all) students behaving disrespectfully and partying until all hours of the night, keeping families and other permanent residents who must go to work or whatever the next day from getting decent amounts of sleep every night. If colleges and universities would put a cap on annual student enrollment, and, in the event that there's no more enrollment space for students on a given year, just wait-list these students for the following year, that, imho, would go a long way toward solving this seemingly intractible problem.

Also, when coilleges and universities continue to expand deep into nearby neighborhoods, it really
does destroy a neighborhood's overall character. A certain amount of noise is an inevitable part of urban life, but there are limitations as to how much noise is tolerable, and how far it should go. Anybody who's old enough to go to college is old enough to have some respect for their neighbor(s), imho.

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Dear Everybody,
You live in a city. You have no constitutional right to quiet. If you want quiet, move to the suburbs.

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You live in a city. You have no constitutional right to be an asshole. If you want to be an asshole, move back to Long Island.

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Thanks you, Adam, for putting it so articulately!! Bravo!!

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We live in a city. We have a legal right to quiet in our city. If you don't like it, please go away!


Boston, Massachusetts Noise Ordinance

16-26 UNREASONABLE NOISE

16-26.1 General Prohibition and Definitions.

No person shall make or cause to be made any unreasonable or excessive noise in the city, by whatever means or from whatever means or from whatever source. As used herein, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
...

c. Unreasonable or excessive noise shall mean

1. Noise measured in excess of 50 dBa between the hours of 11:00 p.m.. and 7:00 a.m.., or in excess of 70 dBa at all other hours; or

2. In the absence of an applicable noise level standard or regulation of the Air Pollution control commission, any noise plainly audible at a distance of three hundred (300) feet or, in the case of loud amplification devices of similar equipment, noise plainly audible at a distance of one hundred (100) feet from its source by a person of normal hearing.

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I bet it does, but if not, I'm sure annexation to Boston could be arranged :-).

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SECTION 8.15.4 PROHIBITIONS AND MEASUREMENT OF
NOISE EMISSIONS
(a) Use Restrictions
1. The following devices shall be prohibited from
use during the hours of 9 (nine) P.M. to 8
(eight) A.M. Monday through Friday, and from 8
(eight) P.M. to 8:30 (eight-thirty) A.M. on
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays:
All electric motor and internal combustion
engined devices employed in yard and garden
maintenance and repair. Turf maintenance
equipment employed in the maintenance of
golf courses, snow blowers and snow removal
equipment are exempt from this section.
2. The following devices shall be prohibited from
use during the hours of 7 (seven) P.M. to 7
(seven) A.M. Monday through Friday, and from 6
(six) P.M. to 8:30 (eight-thirty) A.M. on
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays:
(a) All devices employed in construction or
demolition.
(b) Vehicular Sources: Maximum Noise
Levels Measurements shall be made at a
distance of 50 (fifty) feet from the
closest point of pass-by of a source of
50 (fifty) feet from a stationery
vehicle.
Inclusive to June 2004 Annual Town Meeting 15 9 Updated by Town Counsel November 2004
__________________________
MAXIMUM NOISE LEVEL dB
Stationary Run-up or Speed
Speed Limit 35 mph Limit
Vehicle Class or less 35-45 mph
All vehicles over
10,000 lbs. 86 90
GVWR or GCWR
All motorcycles 82 82
Automobiles and light
trucks 75 75
(c) Construction and Maintenance Equipment:
Maximum Noise Levels
Noise measurements shall be made at 50 (fifty) feet
from the source. The following noise levels shall not
be exceeded:
Maximum Maximum
Construction Noise Maintenance Noise
Item Level dB Item Level dB
Backhoe, bulldozer 90 Chipper 90
concrete mixer (running concrete
dumptruck, loader, mixer, full speed
paver, pneumatic tools, but not chipping)
roller, scraper leaf vacuum
Air compressor 85 Chainsaw, 85
solid waste
compactor,
tractor
tractor (full-size)
Generator 80 Home tractor, 80
leaf blower,
snow blower
Electric drills, 75 Lawn mower, 75
power tools, trimmer
sanders, saws, etc.
(d) Fixed Plant Equipment
Inclusive to June 2004 Annual Town Meeting 16 0 Updated by Town Counsel November 2004
No person owning, leasing or controlling the operation
of any source of noise of the type listed below shall
willfully, negligently or through failure to provide
necessary equipment or facilities or to take necessary
precautions, permit the establishment or continuation
of a condition of noise pollution.
The following sources, and any other similar noise
producing device not specified here, shall be
considered as sources of noise pollution:
Air conditioners, pumps, fans, furnaces, compressors,
engines and similar fixed plant equipment.
Noise measurements shall be made at the boundary of
the property in which the offending source is located
or at the boundary line of the complainant.
(e) Electronic Devices and Musical Instruments
No person owning, leasing or controlling the operation
of any electronic device shall willfully or
negligently permit the establishment or condition of
noise injury or noise pollution.
In public spaces, the existence of noise injury or
noise pollution is to be judged to occur at any
location a passerby might reasonably occupy. When the
offending noise source is located on private property,
noise injury or noise pollution judgments shall be
made at the property line within which the offending
source is located.
Any and all decibel levels of sound caused by playing
non-electronic musical instruments between 9 A.M. and
9 P.M. shall be exempt.

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Where in there does it say anything about parties, voices, cell phone calls, chatting while walking down the sidewalk, etc.?

Where did this "55 db" come from? It's certainly not in there.

I promise you it's not their air compressors or chainsaws that caused any one of the 18 arrests.

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Not a constitutional right, but a law that is way older than you are, Anonymous Pipsqueek.

I've been on my own in this city and surrounding are since I was seventeen years old, financially supporting myself. I learned very early on that if you aren't going to act like an adult and hold up your end of the responsibilities which go with rights and freedom, maybe you don't belong out on your own just yet.

For you, I think mommy and daddy's basement would be a good next move if you can't own up to being a grown up. If you don't like the expectations of adulthood, go be a child at home already - helicopter parents are standing by!

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Hey Gareth, thanks for posting the actual text.

I remember it as 55 dB, because that's what the police with the noise meters walking through our back bay neighborhood said was the limit.

Maybe they were going for an "unchallenged" limit that took measurement error into account?

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As for being an adult... being an adult means making tuff choices and not getting your way all the time. If you want to live in the city with it's conveniences, then you have to put up with its inconveniences. Would you move to the North End and complain about the Festivals during the summer? People are often up until early in the morning. Furthermore, they often light up fireworks. It's pretty annoying, but I've been dealing with it for a pretty long time.

Also, what does calling me an "anonymous pipsqueek" have to do with your argument? Furthermore, the level of anonymity between someone who simply leaves an anonymous message and someone who leaves a message as "swirlygrrl" is negligible. It's not exatly your DBA, unless I'm mistaken and you're posting as some sort of Corporate Entity for tax purposes.

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As for being an adult... being an adult means making tuff choices and not getting your way all the time.

I think this is a prime example of how using standard spelling and grammar might go a long way toward having your point be understood.

Can you rephrase this? It really doesn't make any sense. Who is getting in whose way here? Are you getting in your own way, or is there an implied external entity creating roadblocks.

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Dear Internet Commenting Community,
In my tretise on Rhetoric, I listed ethos, pathos, and logos as the appropriate means by which to form an argument. Please note that I did not list, "commenting on other people's spelling," or "commenting on other people's grammer."
Your's Always,
Aristotle

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talkin bout my grammer.

She's a nice lady.

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In your day, paper was non-existent. Those things you did write upon - papyrus and such - were somewhat scarce, and therefore costly. Therefore, if a spelling mistake occurred, it was likely to be a very expensive mistake. In addition, only a small percentage of your fellow citizens could actually read and write. So, spelling mistakes were much less likely.

Nowadays, any idiot can post his or her thoughts. Take me, for instance. And the incidence of spelling errors and grammatical faults has increased as a result. Some of us are just trying to stem the tide.

(There are those who come at it from a totally different angle, looking to embarrass rather than elucidate, but they are mean-spirited individuals and nothing will placate them, anyway.)

By the way - these days, we spell "grammar" with an "a" in the second syllable.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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You question my use of apostrophes? How dare you! If I only had my lever with me, I'd give you the levering of a liftime!
Your friend 'til the end,
Aristotle

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The North End doesn't expand - it'd be like me buying a condo in the South End and then learning they've decided to extend the route of the St. Anthony's parade down Columbus Avenue. There's a reason people in Roxbury are up in arms about Northeastern these days and it's not because they don't like the school colors.

The North End feasts are scheduled and have been going on for decades.

Some people move to the North End in part because it has a vibrant street life that includes the feasts. I've never heard anybody say they're moving to Brighton because they love listening to drunken BC students screaming at each other at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday.

Oh, yeah, the feasts are on weekends.

People who are not direct participants in the feasts can still enjoy them. Hey, I'm not Italian or Catholic, but I still find them fun. Student parties are essentially private affairs that spill over into the public realm.

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I remember the NABB types complaining about fraternities and living groups in the Back Bay because their presence "devalued condo property".

Most of the condo conversions dated from the 1970s and 1980s.

MIT and BU residences in large brownstones dated from the 1880s to 1900s.

In other words, they had moved in on top of the students, not the other way around. Their real complaint was that their property might be worth more if it was not near a fraternity or student living group. They got a discount, not a devaluation. Not much sympathy there!

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The growth of the neigborhood is a good point, but I think what it's missing is that the problem isn't really one of college kids versus townies (although that's how its manifesting itself with the issues surrounding BU, BC, et al), but a much larger issue of how people deal with living in a city.

Some of the biggest reasons people move to the city are because it's a dynamic, convenient, and exciting place to live. You wouldn't move to a city expecting anything less, and you surely wouldn't move to a city and then ask it to stop. The problem that arises is that there are side effects to living in a dynamic, convenient, and exciting place, in this case, noise.

Instead of someone in Brookline, imagine someone who moves to Colorado. This person moves there because they love nature. If a strip mining company wanted to set up shop next door, that person would have a pretty good reason to be pissed off. But people in Brookline complaining about noise is like if the person in Colorado complained about his or her allergies. Allergies are a part of nature and a part of Colorado! It's why you moved there in the first place!

The problem with people complaining about students being noisy isn't that the students behavior is in any way comendable, because it's not in any way. The problem is that people's real complaint is that they live in a city, and that they want everything good about living in a city, but they don't want any of the bad. That's as childish as the behavior of the students.

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Please. Rats are as much a part of city life as students, but that doesn't mean we should just accept the problems they cause, anymore than we should accept other bad things about city life, from crime to childhood asthma.

There is no perfect city, but there can be more civil ones. Sometimes that requires enforcing those pesky laws and ordinances.

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I agree with you completely that rats are a major problem in Boston and Brookline. Rats spread germs and disease that can result in hundreds of people becoming sick all at one time. The strain that could put on our already teetering healthcare system would certainly be enough to topple it.

We also have a big problem with our school systems. We also have a problem with our crumbling transit infrastructure. We also have a problem with violence. Yes, I completely agree with you; there are many, many serious problems facing the Boston area.

Is noise really on that level? Rats, schools, infrastructure, and violece are all things that can be addressed and should be addressed. They threaten the very existance of Boston. But all cities are noisy; in fact, as argued above, noise is the unwanted but undeniable externality of what makes a city a place people want to live. Trying to stop a city from being noisy is like trying to stop the ocean from being salty.

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... between ambient noise - traffic, machinery, the collective sound of many normal voices - and that which is being discussed here. One is expected in the city, while the other (IMHO) shouldn't have to be tolerated anywhere for any significant length of time.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Hey, I grew up with city noise, in the biggest, baddest, noisiest city there is (as a kid, my grandfather and I spent many an hour just watching the el go by). Sirens? If they're not outside your window, eh, fuhgeddaboudit.

But we're not talking routine ambient city noise here (and do NOT get me started on Roslindale being under a Logan flight path). We're talking out of control, screaming, falling-over drunk college kids. Nice to know you can sleep through your upstairs neighbor's kegger and get to work early the next morning all refreshed, though. I couldn't (and so I no longer live in a Brighton apartment). Why do he and his 500 closest friends have more of a right to party on than I do to sleep?

But it's not just the noise, as bad as that is: It's all the wanton vandalism that comes with it: The puddles of vomit and stench you try to avoid the next morning; the brown, dead plants caused by any number of reasons (from just being pulled up to being pissed on all the time); and my favorite - the cinderblock through your rear car window (OK, that didn't happen to me, happened to a co-worker who lived off Cleveland Circle).

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Nao acredito!

;P

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OK: The biggest, baddest, noisiest city in the US, back when Kurt Russell movies about escaping the place were more like cinema verite than over-the-top fantasy :-).

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Okay, so what's your sollution? It seems to me that there are two: more cops; and/or more dorms. The problem with more cops is that, it's impossible to justify taking even one cop out of the Gang Unit in Grove Hall, and reassigning him to "Vomit Patrol" around BU. The problem with the dorms is that the neighboors complain about them being built.

The only other solution is to force the schools to stop growing, but what that fails to realize is that the schools have to grow in order to survive. Higher education is a business like any other (gasp! I know, but it's true), and like any business, colleges and universities need to stay competetive with what other colleges and universities are offering. It sounds crass to say that BC will die without a new football field, but in the competetive world of higher-ed, where students have to decide between school x and y, oftentimes its a new football field that sways the decision. The Harvard Life Sciences lab is probably a better example.

The Life Science Lab is a good example also because it illustrates an even more important point; the health of greater Boston is inextricably tied to the health of its universities. We already lost the computer industry to California because of that area's relationship with Cal and Stamford, are we going to lose bio-tech and and the life sciences as well? It's not like we can fall back on the old mainstays of shipping, fishing, and industrial manufacturing. We have to have these businesses.

So I ask again, what is the solution to this problem? Are we going to just yell at the kids until they grow-up? Are we going to put them in jail? Are we going to send them home? None of these solutions are workable!

We need to realize that the growth of our universities is linked to our own growth in the greater Boston area. This growth has led to an incrdible amount of growing pains, sometimes manifested as PBR infused vomit on our streets and front doors. We can't lay down the rules on these kids because the growth has outgrown the old rules. What we need to do is work with the universities, the kids, the cops, and everyone else for that matter to make new rules. If we don't, then the students really will run all over us.

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"... Are we going to put them in jail? ... None of these solutions are workable!"

I may be wrong, but the sense I get is that you assume that each of the solutions mentioned would have to be ongoing at the same level in perpetuity. Not so. If you put a whole bunch of people in jail now, the idea filters down to the community as a whole that doing whatever got those people put into jail is NOT a thing you should be doing - unless you want to go to jail.

I'm just saying.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Better living through fear of "the man". The terrorists have truly won.

(second sentence was facetious....settle down)

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Over crowded prisons be damned! The college kids they arrest for being noisy can take the cell that formerly housed the crack dealing gang member who just shot someone on the street for snitching! Problem solved.

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Just call up the 'rents and say "Hello, Ms. Bratparent? This is Sgt. Arm o'TheLaw with the Brookline Police Department. I have your son Jonny here, he wants to explain why he's currently handcuffed to a drug dealer in our lockup ..." Problem solved.

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"We need to realize that the growth of our universities is linked to our own growth in the greater Boston area. This growth has led to an incrdible amount of growing pains, sometimes manifested as PBR infused vomit on our streets and front doors. We can't lay down the rules on these kids because the growth has outgrown the old rules. What we need to do is work with the universities, the kids, the cops, and everyone else for that matter to make new rules. If we don't, then the students really will run all over us."

Oh, really??! That excuses that kind of revolting, destructive, disruptive behaviour?? Uh uh..no way!! The colleges have plenty of money! They're in no danger of going under due to financial constraints. Frankly, they could stand to put a cap on annual student enrollment and they'd have no problem whatsoever. The rules have to be laid down on these out-of-control students. The students who act in that sort of disruptive manner have to realize that when one has the attitude that s/he can go out and do whatever they want when they want, that sooner or later, it'll come home to bite them in the ass.

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No. The Universities and Colleges should put a cap on annual student enrollment, and not expand so much into nearby neighborhoods. It would mean that if there was no room for more students to go to the college of their choice, they'd have to be wait-listed for the following year. What would be so terrible? Nothing, as far as I'm concerned. There are students who really could/should stand to wait at least a year before going to college, as opposed to going right out of high school. Moreover, the kids who get out of hand, get falling-down drunk, get into fights, are loud, vandalize property and vomit all over people's yards, porches, doors and front steps really need a firm hand., because that kind of behaviour is unacceptable, and they have to be made to face that.

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But people in Brookline complaining about noise is like if the person in Colorado complained about his or her allergies

The concept that high levels of noise is just something one must accept if one wants to live in a city derives from a suburban fantasy of what a city is, not an understanding of actual city life.

When kids grow up in the suburbs thinking that the city is where people go to have fun and make noise - to see a Sox game, go out to clubs, play games at super fun time arcade - and that a suburb is where people really live (boring people like their parents, that is), then when they move to a city as students they are at a serious disadvantage. They move to the city thinking every night is fun time party out, and get the rude awakening that apartments have neighbors.

The fact is that people really do live in the city, and not just young folks who like to shout and puke on the sidewalks. Middle-aged people live in the city, and old people too. People sometimes even live their whole entire lives in cities - without having raucous parties every night!

And cities have different neighborhoods too. You might not be familiar with these neighborhoods if you don't live in the city. If you just come to the city to have fun, then you might know the Fenway, and the Back Bay, Kenmore Square, Downtown Crossing, the North End... But you'll probably never have a reason to go into the non-touristed, residential neighborhoods of the city.

But these residential city neighborhoods, largely bereft of any reason for out-of-towners to visit, are home to hundreds of thousands of people who go about their lives in close proximity to one another. They're quiet except for an occasional siren, and people who live in these neighborhoods mostly like them that way. Most of the people who live in the whole city live in these neighborhoods.

Most of Brookline is a quiet, residential neighborhood. Again, you might only know the noisier parts of Brookline, like Coolidge Corner. But if you get only a couple blocks back from Harvard Street, you are in a quiet, residential neighborhood full of people who respect their neighbors' rights. And maybe they want to keep it that way.

Here's a fix for your metaphor:

People in Brookline complaining about noise is like if the person in Colorado complained about invasive plant species.

Yeah, plants grow. People move around. But that doesn't mean I have to let the swallowwort take over my garden, any more than the residents of Brookline have to put up with hooligans. Weed them out, and if that doesn't work, try RoundUp.

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"The problem with people complaining about students being noisy isn't that the students behavior is in any way comendable, because it's not in any way. The problem is that people's real complaint is that they live in a city, and that they want everything good about living in a city, but they don't want any of the bad. That's as childish as the behavior of the students."

This particular post, particularly the afore-mentioned final quote from it, doesn't even begin to hold water, imho. It's just pure straw. While a certain amount of noise is to be expected in an urban area, there's no excuse for people who're old enough to know better to act like little assholes and keep neighbors up until 2, 3, or 4 a.m. with falling-down drunk parties and excessively loud noise, not to mention using people's yards as toilets.

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They mostly "are on weekends", but that means Friday evening through late Sunday night. St. Lucy's is on Monday night, and the Fishermen's Feast is Thursday through Sunday.

Still, it makes no sense to move into that neighborhood and then complain about noise in the summer.

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I have numerous colleagues that live on hang-ov- ...er.. handover street.

I can tell you, it's loud over there right up until around 2am, even on a Tuesday night. It reminds me of what a city really is. Could you imagine if Boston permitted it's restaurants, stores, bars and clubs to stay open all night like NYC? The residents of this city would flee for the hills of Worcester!

In fact, I think alot of the problems caused by house parties are because Boston's night culture is non-existent, and let's face it, college kids are night hawks. If bars were open until the last patron decided to sulk home, there'd be very few left with the energy to keep partying.

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Um....sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree here, Lil'Italy. There's plenty to do in here in Boston in the way of a night-culture if these kids would make more of an effort.

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Let's run this by you one more time:

If you're a college student here in Boston, then You're the one who is a visitor in our city.

Get it yet? Us = city. You = visitor.

We live here for real, and for good. We have jobs, pay taxes, vote, own property, participate in our communities, and raise our kids here. We were here before you came here - on a temporary basis. We will still be here after you leave. That means that you are the one who has to adapt to us.

You go through the motions, but you still don't get the point. You want to live in a city with all its conveniences (e.g. colleges), but you don't want to put up with its inconveniences (i.e. noise ordinances, ubiquitous law enforcement officers). You know conceptually that being an adult means 'making tough choices and not getting your way all the time.' But you still think that doesn't apply to you. You still think that the city is your own personal parent-free party playpen.

It's simple: you're going to have to adapt to the way people live happily so close to each other in a city. The police are going to help you adapt.

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Many of them stay around and become permanent residents (or, in my case, go somewhere else but return a few years later)

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Yeah, that's just what my mother once thought I'd be.

The fact that some temporary residents become permanent doesn't mean that temporary residents don't exist.

So are you hollering and puking up and down Beacon Street these days?

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... the issue here seems to be whether students can sit quietly outdoors in the evening and smoke cigarettes.

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If that's all they were really doing, there wouldn't be a problem. Students can sit outside and smoke a cigarette and talk in low voices anywhere they want to -- even in my neighborhood. There's no curfew. There are noise ordinances, and in some places - such as residential neighborhoods undergoing a student invasion - they are more vigorously enforced. But trust me - there are students living next door to me (okay, grad students), and they talk on the back porch sometimes and BFD. I wave to them when I light the barbecue.

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As others have already pointed out, living in a city =! living in mommy and daddy's rec room.

Time to grow up.

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Come on man, I'm a year out of college, and it's hard enough to convince the townies in my neighborhood that I'm not here to cause trouble. I have to go out of my way to show that I can be a good neighbor. Stop making the rest of us look bad, geez.

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TYPICAL SOUND LEVELS

Jet takeoff (200 feet)
120 dBA

Construction Site
110 dBA
Intolerable

Shout (5 feet)
100 dBA

Heavy truck (50 feet)
90 dBA
Very noisy

Urban street
80 dBA

Automobile interior
70 dBA
Noisy

Normal conversation (3 feet)
60 dBA

Office, classroom
50 dBA
Moderate

Living room
40 dBA

Bedroom at night
30 dBA
Quiet

Broadcast studio
20 dBA

Rustling leaves
10 dBA
Barely audible

Looks like you can't have a conversation on your steps at night in Boston without breaking the noise ordinance! Also love how the legal limit is most likely violated during normal hours of the day.

Who writes this stuff?

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People who understand that decibel measurements are logarithmic, i.e., 90dB is A LOT louder than 80dB. It's not like the difference between 90 degrees and 80 degrees. Here, go read up on decibels.

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Anonymous, please read the entire paragraph

First Post:

2. In the absence of an applicable noise level standard or regulation of the Air Pollution control commission, any noise plainly audible at a distance of three hundred (300) feet or, in the case of loud amplification devices of similar equipment, noise plainly audible at a distance of one hundred (100) feet from its source by a person of normal hearing.

Yours:

Normal conversation (3 feet)
60 dBA

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http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/voice-level-d_938.html

12 feet, normal conversation, 48 dB.

Smoking a cigarette on your front step carrying a normal conversation with someone is not above the Boston limit quoted above. Anyone have a Brookline limit?

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Well if we take the law at face value, then it reads that dBa should be measured at 100 feet from the sound source. Regardless if you're closer or further away, measurement is taken at this distance. Am I right here?

By the calculation in the table link, that mean that at 96 feet:

96 -4.7 30 36 42 48

Which means you a person outside yelling at night is most likely within the law.

I'm really just trying to point out how ambiguous these laws are, and how often they're enforced on little to no evidence. I also highly doubt police are standing 100 feet away with a decibel reader.

Doesn't mean they aren't breaking fire codes, liquor laws, ect. Usually leases state a maximum number of people in a apartment at one time, so they'd be breaking a lease also.

I'd suggest at 100 feet outside of a closed house, most house party's never break this rule, no matter how loud it sounds to you. I do know most of the complains from house parties stem from what I call "cackle". Girls tend to go outside to smoke cigarettes, and less face it, they're loud and always talk over each other after a few drinks. I have thrown parties in the past, and when smoking can be held inside a room, or in a basement, we've never had any troubles. Let people stand outside (front or back porch), and you get people complaining.

Those were the old days, but I still see (and hear) others having parties, and to tell you the truth I'm not bothered. It's one thing if students are destructive little jerks, or partying in an apartment complex where others live without talking to their neighbors. I don't condone destructive behavior, or trespassing on other peoples property. It's another thing all together if there's the faint sound of talking and music in the air, that doesn't violate the above laws.

I'm a light sleeper, and I used to constantly get to bed with something or another going on in the background. Sometimes the simplest solution is to turn on a fan and close a window. It's never failed me.

I really think some people need to relax a bit.

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"It's one thing if students are destructive little jerks"

This above-mentioned quote from your post says it all in a nutshell, Notascientist. The issue being discussed here is the fact that, unfortunately, a number of these students really are destructive little jerks, and, even though they may not be in the majority, they don't have to be in the majority to present a problem. The fact is that many of the students do engage in destructive, disrespectful behaviour, and that's a big problem. As I've pointed out previously: Anybody who's old enough to go to college is old enough to use common sense and be considerate and respectful of your neighbors.

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