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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 20, 1914

"Muffler" Ordinance is Not Properly Enforced.

To the Editor of The New York Times:
New York is rapidly becoming the "City of Dreadful Night," and much of the noise which renders the night hideous in so many quarters is entirely unnecessary and in plain violation of the law.

Almost two years ago an ordinance was passed making it an offense to operate a gasoline motor without a muffler, but no really serious attempt has been made to enforce this excellent ordinance.  At any hour of the day or night automobiles cut out the muffler and thunder through the street where I live, and at 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning machines approach the nearby garages, and opening their "cut-outs," speed up their engines.  Meanwhile, they keep up a continual screeching of their horns, to save the trouble of pushing an electric button at the door of the garage.

When I made a compliant about the noise at the police station of my precinct they seemed to resent my desire to revive this muffler ordinance from its peaceful slumber. However, they did take action, giving some measure of temporary relief, but we all know that a few warnings will be forgotten in a week or so, and unless some consistent attempt is made to enforce this ordinance throughout the city, and actual arrests made, it will amount to nothing.  Many of the best automobiles are now made without any provision for cutting out the muffler, and as the "cut-out" serves no really useful purpose it is a little surprising that motor car owners should persist in a violation of the law.
E. L. W.
New York, April {...scan failed...}, 1914

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