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Faneuil Hall: As Sam Adams knew, noise is OK

A street performer shows his stuff at Faneuil Hall.Globe/file 2006/Boston Globe

Musicians, acrobats, mimes, contortionists, and other street performers have become inextricable parts of the Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market scene, and are a major part of the area’s visitor appeal. For that reason, news that several of those performers were being banned from using microphones with an amplifier has left some Bostonians disappointed.

Since spring, the New York-based property managers of Faneuil Hall have enacted new sound restrictions that ban jugglers, stuntmen, and circus performers from using amplifiers. (The rule doesn’t apply to musical performances and singers.) Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., the management company, cites noise; it wants to make Faneuil Hall quieter, as a nod to its historical roots. But the vitality that street performers bring is also part of Faneuil Hall’s history, and turning the volume down undermines their ability to offer a lively experience for tourists and residents alike.


Faneuil Hall’s managers should reconsider the no-amp rule. They risk silencing robust street traffic and economic activity for more than 70 retailers at Faneuil Hall, where the “Cradle of Liberty” got its nickname. As the patriots understood back when Samuel Adams and others gave rousing public speeches in those same grounds, a bit of noise is OK.