NEW YORK — Tourists from all over the world love to see New York City from atop open-air double-decker sightseeing buses, but the noisy loudspeakers aboard have driven New Yorkers who live in those landmark neighborhoods to wear earplugs inside and keep their windows shut tight.
The City Council passed legislation yesterday that requires sightseeing buses to replace their loudspeaker systems with headphones. A phase-in period begins in July 2011, and by July 2015, all open-air sightseeing buses must use headphones.
The city’s sightseeing bus fleet has grown rapidly since the vehicles first appeared on streets in the early 1990s, and efforts to quiet their loudspeakers have persisted for years.
“It’s unbearable, it really is,’’ said Ellen Peterson-Lewis, who has lived in Manhattan’s West Village for 50 years.
Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who typically says “so what’’ to most complaints about New York, allowed recently that when buses lumber by, “You can hear somebody saying, ‘And there’s this building and there’s that building’ . . . and it’s annoying to some people.’’