Some residents in one Brooklyn neighborhood are complaining a nightly church revival is too loud, but others say the noise of prayer is a welcome reprieve from the sound of gunshots echoing throughout their community.
Tent Crusade 2011 is in full swing in with nightly revivals under a canopy in an empty lot on Clarendon Road in Flatbush. The gathering is happening every night this month and residents say they can hear the preaching for blocks.
Janee Harvey and her son Amare, 8, live just down the street.
The boy says he can't sleep at night because the church service keeps him awake. His bedtime is 8:30 p.m., about the time the revival gets going.
On Tuesday night around that time, NBC New York took a sound measurement across the street that read 97 decibels.
That's higher than peak Midtown traffic but only slightly quieter than the subway. City noise law has various thresholds for noise levels, depending on the source and time of day -- construction noise may not exceed 85 decibels after 11 p.m., and commercial establishments that play music may not exceed 42 decibels as measured from inside nearby residences.
Harvey describes the noise as near-constant yelling from about 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. She says it's not the religion that bothers her so much, just the volume of the prayer.
A petition and numerous complaints have done nothing to lower the noise level, according to Harvey. On Tuesday night, after media attention and calls from NBC New York, the Department of Environmental Protection showed up to take its own noise measurements.
The DEP said the results of its testing would be available Wednesday.
"I don't mind the noise," said one man who was visiting a friend across the street from the revival. "I think it sends a positive message."
"It’s better than hearing bullets," said Sister Cohen, one of the event organizers from Gospel Tabernacle Church.