Nightlife

Sleepless in Miami Springs: Hialeah Venue Kept Residents Up Late During Art Week

"Loud Neighbor Making Noisy Party While Couple Sleeping In Bed" is a stock photo. Miami Springs residents say they lived it last weekend.
"Loud Neighbor Making Noisy Party While Couple Sleeping In Bed" is a stock photo. Miami Springs residents say they lived it last weekend. Getty Images
Septuagenarian retirees Robert and Lilia Torres couldn't fall asleep on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, owing to the persistent "boom, boom, boom" of the bass that thumped through their Miami Springs home until 3 a.m.

At first the pair thought their roof was going to collapse on top of them. Then they figured the reverberating noise was coming from the house next door: It felt that close. Though he tries to stay on good terms with his neighbors, Robert Torres was so sleep-deprived and desperate, he was tempted to throw rocks at the neighbors' window to get them to turn down the music.

"It was maddening," he tells New Times in Spanish. "It was an abuse. I couldn't sleep!"

No windows were broken: It turned out the loud music wasn't coming from the neighbors or even a house down the street, but from an entertainment venue nearly two miles away in Hialeah, a municipality that borders Miami Springs and was founded by the same aviation pioneer (Glen H. Curtiss) yet sports a markedly different cultural and urban identity, one that sometimes puts the neighboring municipalities at odds with one another.

By 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Miami Springs Police Department dispatchers say, they'd received more than 100 calls complaining about the noise. But there wasn't much they could do, because its source — Factory Town, an outdoor music venue in an industrial warehouse district — was out of their jurisdiction at 4800 NW 37th Ave. in Hialeah. The event space opened over Halloween weekend and has hosted live music and DJs since. But the decibels seemed to have been cranked up this past weekend for Miami Art Week. Factory Town hosted concerts into the wee hours every night from Thursday through Sunday, featuring performances by Loco Dice, Michael Bibi, and Claptone.
Though the warehouse space doesn't have any immediate residential neighbors in Hialeah, the sound from the venue appears to have traveled all the way to Miami Springs, Mayberry-like hamelt of roughly 14,000 residents, mostly young families and retirees, according to U.S. Census data.

"The music/noise pollution coming from one of our neighboring cities is unacceptable," one Facebook user posted on the Miami Springs Community Spotlight page.

"Unbelievable that the music is so loud it travels for miles," commented another.

In a tweet posted at 1:21 a.m. Sunday, Miami Springs police urged residents to report the noise to the Hialeah PD and tagged "@cityofhialeah" and "#HialeahPolice."

Hialeah police did not respond to a request for comment from New Times.

The City of Miami Springs released a statement on Instagram with a graphic of the word "NOISE" inside the red circle-backslash symbol: "The City of Hialeah issued a permit for this outdoor concert without restrictions on complying with any type of noise ordinance. Mayor [Maria] Mitchell, Councilmembers, and the City Manager [William Alonso] have been in contact with Mayor Bovo's office, and Commissioner Rebeca Sosa's office, in order to get their assistance on what can be done to stop this."

The post suggested that the city would also "explore legal remedies" and "continue to fight this at all levels."

Hialeah Mayor Esteban "Steve" Bovo sent an emailed statement to New Times via the city's communications office, saying Hialeah would work to accommodate the wishes of residents who live near the venue but that he supports bringing more entertainment to the city with businesses like Factory Town.

"The Mayor’s office priority is the wellbeing and growth of Hialeah’s residents. Factory Town is an event that brings a positive cultural and economic impact to our city. At the same time, it is important to find a balance to accommodate this event without negatively impacting the residential lifestyle in this area. We are looking into a solution that will satisfy both parties as we continue to push for Hialeah’s growth for the benefit of its residents," Bovo's statement reads.

Avra Jain, one of the owners of Factory Town, tells New Times she and the event organizers saw the posts about the noise complaints online but otherwise received no direct complaints about their event.

"The City of Hialeah has been supportive of having entertainment within their city," Jain says. "We got no complaints from Hialeah or nearby residents."

Jain says that after organizers saw the posts, they lowered the volume for the Sunday-night concert. She says no police were dispatched to the venue in response to noise complaints on Sunday night.

"One of the reasons we chose the location is because it's in a warehouse district, not residential," Jain elaborates. "The producers are local and very sensitive to complaints. They certainly take it seriously and want to rectify anything that's disruptive."

Jain says Factory Town will conduct sound tests to figure out how the sound traveled nearly two miles.

The Torreses, who moved to Miami Springs three years ago for their retirement, say they hope the volume remains dialed down, at least during the week. While Robert Torres admits that he and the missus get up to a little partying themselves at times, he says it can be too much for people their age to be deprived of sleep that many nights in a row.

"When you get old you need to rest," he says. "This music gave me headaches and nightmares. Can you imagine?"
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Joshua Ceballos is staff writer for Miami New Times. He is a Florida International University alum and a born-and-bred Miami boy.
Contact: Joshua Ceballos