New York: the craziest calls to 311
“How do I cook my turkey for Thanksgiving?”, “My fridge is making too much noise”: New York City celebrated 20 years of its “non-emergency” 311 call service by broadcasting its craziest queries from 525 million contacts.
Launched in March 2003, “NYC311 has become an indispensable resource for New Yorkers, when they want to complain about noise, report a dirt problem, find out if alternate parking is in effect,” praised Eric Adams, the Democratic mayor of the megalopolis of more than eight million inhabitants.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the service released a study summarizing in nine pages the main statistics of this number of “non-emergency” calls, distinct from 911, the one reserved for the most serious situations.
If the most numerous contacts concern parking, legal or illegal, the noise or complaints about the heating, the town hall has selected the 20 most unusual requests. “A cat is terrorizing someone through a screen door,” a 2003 call said, or “how long is a baseball game,” a 2008 question asked.
In 2022, probably in the fall, 311 was dialed asking if it was possible to “spray a spray on the trees to stop the leaves from falling”. “Could you transfer me to a UFO expert,” was asked again in 2023.