Friday, February 28, 2014

Anyone Else In Carroll Gardens Hear A Weird Vibrating, Humming Noise?


Last night, I kept on hearing a faint vibrating noise and checked the phone in my purse several times because I thought it was on vibrate and someone was trying to call. No one was, but I kept on hearing the noise intermittently for a few hours. It was strange. After a while, it stopped and I forgot about it, until I read the following email from reader Siobhan White:
Is anyone else complaining of hearing a weird humming sound? It's a constant sound, that swells for about 4 seconds, then fades slightly for 6 seconds or so, then swells again. It is consistent, and I've noticed it for the past 4 days or so. I kept hearing it in my apartment, and it was louder in my bedroom. I thought perhaps my upstairs neighbor had a cell phone on the floor and I could hear it vibrating -- it sounds like a cell phone vibrating in another room. I've awakened several times the last few nights and heard it (and fixated on it and couldn't fall back to sleep). Was just out walking my dog and realized the sound was OUTSIDE (and much louder). 
Any ideas? (And I know it's not in my head -- really!) My husband thought it might be coming from the East River (dredging?) and another friend thought it could be the construction on First and Bond. (We live on Union/Henry, so that seems too far away.)I posted on FB and several friends hear it, too. Some live as far down as PS 29! It's happening right now. 
Thanks, Siobhan
I immediately wrote her back to say that I was glad that I hadn't lost my mind and that someone else was hearing the strange noise as well. As a matter of fact, I noticed the same humming and vibration this morning at 7 Am. So did Shiobhan.

She tells me that her husband called 311 last night and was told that they had gotten no complaints.
Is anyone else hearing it too? What could it be?



42 comments:

Janah said...

I heard the noise too! I kept thinking it was my phone but it wasn't. Strange. Hope you can get some answers.

Katia said...

I hope so, Janah. It is quite annoying.

Anonymous said...

this has been driving me crazy, also hearing it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Katia, I heard it too, but my husband did not. I remember hearing the same thing over the summer. Sounds a little bit like the fog horn or a generator...could be something on a ship in the harbor. Its such a low frequency that it probably travels pretty far. I'd love to know what it was!

mike said...

Yup. Heard it, too. I live at Henry and DeGraw. Thought I was losing my mind.

Brett said...

I heard it last night and this morning as well.

Anonymous said...

I was up all night from it. I much prefer the traffic sounds of the BQE. The sound is kind of sinister -- like some secret scientific experiment is being conducted. Please post if you find out what it is.

Katia said...

I agree. I had visions of alien forces trying to call us to the mother ship. And I don't believe in that kind of thing.
I am actually hearing it right now,

chance bliss said...

i live on the same intersection as the first writer, siobhan. have not noticed anything but will listen tonight and tomorrow.

there's a number of things it could be. this neighborhood is near a large body of water along a harborfront, which includes tunnels that travel through the water - including subway tunnels that travel not far from this neighborhood. tunnels echo and vibrate, both from activity happening inside the tunnel as well as outside. those tunnels have massive fans running 24 hours a day, right? it's possible that during the late hours (when the rest of the city is relatively quiet) that we can pick out certain hums and vibrations that are normally there all the time.

likewise, could it be a power source? aren't there power grids in red hook and along the columbia waterfront?

during the winter, people are even less active at night, so perhaps the sounds are easier to discern at this time of year.

Anonymous said...

I heard it the other night. Sounded like a washing machine on spin cycle with an uneven load.

I concluded at the time it must have been a helicopter...

I'm at President and Court.

Victoria Cavaliere said...

I heard it too on Court and President. It seemed to ebb and flow, but was so loud around 3 a.m. I couldn't fall back asleep. I thought I was going crazy at first, or that something bizarre had happened and a cell phone set permanently to vibrate had fallen into the wall.

Jim said...

To all- I came here because I googled strange humming sounds Long Island, this page came up.
I live in Suffolk Co., and heard this first for 2 hours in May 2013 late at night. Then heard it again a week ago. It was centered not in my house but out on the water.

I have 2 websites you might find helpful, as this is a worldwide phenomena.

This one has a map and you can pull down what other people in Brooklyn are saying
http://thehum.info/

This one just has people telling their stories, some of which are similar to yours.
http://www.hdwarrior.co.uk/2013/02/03/where-is-that-strange-humming-noise-coming-from/

Good luck...I still don't know.

Anonymous said...

Con Ed is doing some work on Sackett between Henry and Hicks and it was generating a noise that sounds similar to this when I walked past. Not sure if they were working last night though

Cynthia said...

Carroll Gardens is on my top five places for an alien invasion.
Could it be drones?

adele said...

Count me in, I heard it too, late Thursday night. I'm on Union & Clinton. I thought it was perhaps the wind, and didn't focus too much on it, but if I hear it again I will call the precinct, maybe they can shed some light on it. Hopefully others will also call if it happens again, I don't want to be singled out as the conspiracy nut :-)

Jim said...

Nothing to worry about. It's just The Creature from the Gow-anus Lagoon calling for a mate.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is not going crazy. This humming sound has been occurring for the past 3 to 4 months now. I've been hearing it where I live by Henry and Sackett. Originally, I thought my neighbor had his cell phone on either the floor or on a table. But that wasn't the case. Whatever it may be, I'm sure this isn't the last time we hear about this.

Anonymous said...

I am in Texas and last night around 2:20 am (central time), I was awakened by what sounded like a humming sound. I did not see or hear anything in our local news this morning.

Someone 35 miles from where I live heard it also.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is not going crazy. This humming sound has been occurring for the past 3 to 4 months now. I've been hearing it where I live by Henry and Sackett. Originally, I thought my neighbor had his cell phone on either the floor or on a table. But that wasn't the case. Whatever it may be, I'm sure this isn't the last time we hear about this.

Anonymous said...

Also of concern are those microphone looking things popping up around the neighborhood. They're usually mounted on street light poles about 10 feet up. Saw one on 4th place near the train overpass and on 4th street. Looks like it's some kind of sound monitoring but who's doing it and why?

Anonymous said...

Thank God I am not crazy. I've been hearing this for a while now (Huntington & Smith) and thought I was losing my mind since neither my husband nor son can hear it.

Siobhan said...

For the record, I have not heard it for the past several hours...

Anonymous said...

don't you think it is from the testing going on at Public Place site - Smith/5th Street/Gowanus? It was reported here that work would begin the last week of Feb.

Anonymous said...

I heard similar sound and thought it was my neighbor washing maching and it is louder when you go to the sub ground level (basement). This sound has been re-occurring over month but not on a regular schedule. I'm on Carroll btw Smith & Hoyt.

Anonymous said...


An Anonymous commentator referred to the "Public Place site - Smith/5th Street/Gowanus? It was reported here that work would begin the last week of Feb."

That may very well be the cause of the vibration noise we are hearing. I found the website set up by National Grid providing info on the remediation work they are conducting at the former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) site:

http://www.citizensmgpsite.com/

fredshart said...

I heard this off and on since the summer. One Sunday morning when everything was quiet, rode my bike toward the noise. It lead me to the Battery Tunnel. To me it sounds like a giant fan. Right now I don't hear it at all. Days will go by and I will forget to ask anyone else. But it is a real sound.

Doxy said...

ever since i started using tin foil under my hat, i haven't heard a think

Doxy said...

i've started wearing tin foil underneath my hat, and no longer hear any humming

Anonymous said...

THEY HAVE ARRIVED.

John said...

1st Place between Court and Smith -- around 11pm

Katia said...

So, many people are hearing this noise and there are a few ideas of where it is coming from, but how do we go about stopping it? If it can be stopped. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

You think that sound is annoying? wait till dredging of the canal starts and/or the city starts constructing massive sewage tanks in the middle of our commnunity..

Katia said...

Oh, someone is obviously still harboring some resentment against the Superfund designation. Give it as rest.
Any noise from dredging and retention basin construction will be announced to the community prior to construction, so that we will know exactly where it will come from and how long it will last. Besides, the work, though it may be noisy for a while, will lead to a cleaner canal.

My experience on the EPA Gowanus Superfund CAG has shown me that the federal agency takes its relationship with the community very seriously. I am sure there will be an ongoing dialog with EPA prior and during the work that needs to be performed.

The noise we have addressed here has been going on for a while and has an unknown source, so we, as a neighborhood, cannot even address it.

Hardly the same thing, in my humble opinion.

sue said...

I am in San Diego and the vibratory noise started last evening and driving me nuts. Sounds like a large fan or "drilling" My ears are suffering from the pitch.

Becky said...

We hear this often at night, for months. Summit / Hicks. Drives me insane.

Anonymous said...

I think I heard this sound around 6 am this morning. To me it sounded like helicopters hovering over my building or a very loud motor. It was persistent but I'm not sure how long it lasted since I forced myself back to sleep. I'm at Henry and Sackett.

Anonymous said...

There was a helicopter hovering around 6am this morning (probably traffic related), so it wasn't the sound that others are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if everyone is talking about the same thing, but about once a night i hear what sounds like a nearby vibrating phone. I used to assume it was from the floor above me, but it appears its similar to what others are hearing. It isn't super loud, just enough to trick me into thinking I have a text message.

Katia said...

That's exactly the sound. You describe it well.

Anonymous said...

I live on Union by Clinton. This summer, the person in the apartment next to mine posted notes on several doors in the building concerning constant "vibrating sounds" that were waking her up in the middle of the night. She was convinced it was due to an Air Conditioner running, and to appease her I removed mine from my bedroom entirely. After repeatedly asking neighbors to remove fans/AC units, she ended up moving out.

I've always been a very deep sleeper and have never had this issue, but had to mention this.

Katia said...

Thanks. It is very strange how so many people in the neighborhood are hearing it, but we cannot pinpoint where it is coming from.

Anonymous said...

It happened to me just now i guess it still happens. Now im hearing an exhale sound could be the loud AC. But today was the first ive heard the sound it has kept me up for about 20min.