Slowly but surely, my corner of New York City is coming alive again. New neighbors will be moving into the long-vacant apartment across the hall, and from the sound of it, they’re giving it a real face-lift. The building’s sidewalk replacement project, long delayed, is back in action. People are having rooftop parties on my block again — or maybe it just sounds like it’s on my block. Successfully managing everyday city noise requires a balance of physics and psychology — part of what makes noise annoying is our lack of power over it. Here’s how to optimize your noise-fighting devices and take control of common noise problems.