The annoying and never-ending noises of New York City are just as much a concern to the New Yorkers of yore as they are to the people who live there today. Indeed, during 2007 the New York government saw fit to introduce a number of noise ordinances in an attempt to reduce some of that racket; additionally, The New York Daily News reported that when the local police instituted its quality of life telephone hotline during the Summer of 1996, 43% of the calls received related to noise pollution.
The attached article from 1929 briefly concerns the findings of a psychologist named Dr. Arthur P. Payne who felt that ceaseless clattering of the city was creating symptoms not unlike "battle fatigue":
"Soldiers get war shell-shock; New Yorkers get peace shell-shock, a condition of nerves less obvious, but more insidious. It makes the New Yorker smoke more cigarettes than any one else in the world...it keeps the speakeasies open, it builds skyscrapers and eggs him on to splendid achievement, or shatters his morale..."
More on this topic can be read here...