I live in Hyde Square, on Forbes Street, very close to Centre. Across the street from my place is a small lot behind some businesses, and there's some kind of hydraulic pump or something back there that goes on and off regularly and emits a low, extended whine that lasts what seems to be at least a minute, growing louder before dying out. Then maybe a minute of silence, and the process starts again. I think it gets activated only at night, or at least I don't notice it during the daytime, but in any case it was dormant through the winter and now I'm hearing it and particularly while I'm trying to sleep it really drives me up a wall. Ear plugs don't stay in my ears and a white noise machine probably wouldn't drown it out. Does anyone know who I can talk to to see if it could be shut off? I probably don't mean the owners (because they'd just ignore me, I fear) but is this going against some kind of noise code? I know I'm more sensitive than a lot of people, but it's really obnoxious. Thanks.
Best guess is that it is a refrigeration unit associated with an air conditioner, especially if it was dormant through the winter. We have had a few warm days of late. If there were a convenience store in that block I'd say it was a refrigeration unit for a large freezer or the like.
Contact the Mayor's office of neighborhood services to see what they can do. There are ordinances that restrict noise levels from machinery, including at night.
Thank you, Dennis. That's very helpful advice.
I'd go direct to the owner. I hear that you fear they might listen, and they might not, but I like to give people a chance.
You could also call the Mayor's Hotline at 617-635-4500 and tell them what's going on and ask who in the city might be able to help.