INWOOD, NY — Leah doesn't want to leave Inwood, but she does want to get her family away from Dyckman Street.
The Upper Manhattan resident recently posted in an Inwood Facebook community group about relocating her family from the "Dyckman street chaos" to a "quieter pocket" of the neighborhood closer to Isham Park or Indian Road.
Leah has lived in the Dyckman Street and Seaman Avenue area with her husband and two young children for the past six years.
"Most recently, we have become concerned by the outdoor dining culture," Leah, who only provided her middle name, told Patch. "We can hear the amplified live music being played outside at Mamasushi. Cars with tricked out speakers seem to be idling nearby to entertain diners as well."
Susan Osorio, owner of Mamasushi, was quick to defend her restaurant.
"When I moved to this community in 1986 as a Dominican-born immigrant, this neighborhood was plagued with violence and drug addiction, something that many of the current residents never had to struggle with," Osorio told Patch. "We have lifted this community up from a poverty-stricken crack den that it was then to a vibrant destination of cultural dining and shopping experiences that it is today."
Osorio, who owns five restaurants in the area, said that gentrification was a major element in disagreements that emerged between businesses and residents in Inwood.
"What we unfortunately see today is a gentrifying force in this community that are making categorically false statements about the activity outside these businesses in attempt to create a neighborhood that better suits their wants and needs," Osorio told Patch.
Leah, who is among many who have bemoaned the neighborhood's noise, said she has filed multiple complaints over the years.
She specifically thinks the car culture around Dyckman Street is a major part of the noise issue.
"I think the car issue is what we sociologists call conspicuous displays of wealth, compounded with machismo culture," Leah told Patch. "In general, the Dyckman scene strikes me as a runway for people to show off their money. And for a certain group of men that is accomplished through showing off their car's speakers and demanding attention," she added.
Jeffrey Garcia, the President of the New York State Latino Restaurant Bar & Lounge Association, called Leah's description of Dyckman Street a "false narrative."
“At a time when businesses across this city are struggling to find new and innovative ways to serve their communities, the small business community on Dyckman street have been pioneers in what has become the outdoor dining experience in New York City," Garcia told Patch. "It is unfortunate that a small group of individuals are attempting to create a false narrative of reckless behavior by a group of immigrant business owners who are doing everything they can to survive.”
Leah told Patch that she does love parts of the neighborhood.
"We live here for the green space. We love the parks and kid community."
Inwood residents complaining about loud cars and drag racing in the neighborhood is not a new phenomenon.
In the summer, Patch found that drag racing complaints quadrupled in New York City from March 20 to June 14. More than 400 New Yorkers called 311 about drag racing cars or bikes in the period, up from 87 the previous year.
Out of the total complaints, more than a third of them were in Manhattan, and most of them centered around Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights.
In July, one Inwood resident shared a letter that she sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio and state Sen. Robert Jackson about the "seriousness of the excessive noise" in the neighborhood.
"I am writing to emphasize the seriousness of the excessive noise we are enduring every night until 4 a.m. and sometimes later from loud cars, motorcycles and music," the resident wrote. "There is NO police presence and NO action from our representatives nor Mayor de Blasio."
The letter also mentioned the creation of a resident task force to address the noise situation.
That task force came to fruition in August, when Inwood and Washington Heights residents formed a task force to combat "noise violence" in the two neighborhoods.
The group never specified exactly what constituted "noise violence."
Regarding Leah's attempt to find a quieter home for her family in the Isham Park or Indian Road area of Inwood, one Facebook user put it simply: "It's not that quiet over here."