There are many things you need to investigate when you are looking for a new apartment. One of those things is the noise level.
Many apartments in New York City are 50 – 100 years old. This can mean tilted floors and squeaky noises when you walk across the floor.
If you have kids or a dog, that could mean future trouble with your downstairs neighbors. You can also hear the footsteps from your upstairs neighbor; especially when he or she comes home and walks around the room.
In older apartments you might also hear banging noises from the heating system which is a problem that most owners won’t fix.
Be careful of the location of your apartment. Living on the ground floor or second floor is usually noisier and living on a main cross street like 34th or 42nd can be noisy. Also, try not to live near a fire station or a hospital because that means you will hear lots of sirens.
I used to live in an apartment that had all of the above. Second floor, 34th Street in front of a bus stop, close to a hospital with a noisy upstairs neighbor and a noisy heating system.
I tried ear plugs but that didn’t work so I ended up taking sleeping pills in order to get a good night’s sleep. After all of that, I decided that it was best to find a new apartment.
However, a ground floor apartment is good if you have children or a dog and if you don’t want to hear the neighbors upstairs then a top floor apartment is the best choice.
New high rises usually don’t have these problems because the floors are well insulated.
With regard to the heat, the owner’s broker might not be aware of any noise and those sounds are intermittent so you might not hear them when you visit. Try to visit during the winter and make sure to ask the tenant if the heating system bangs at night.