Have you ever asked yourself why your upstairs neighbor is playing marbles on the floor at 4am in the morning? Or wondered if that crying baby actually hates you? Perhaps one of the residents in your building enjoys loud freaky sex and they don’t care who knows it?
Well, you’re not alone. Noisy neighbors are the number one grievance received by NYC’s 311 hotline for residents of New York City. Fortunately, there are few things you can do to protect your eardrums. Here are the top noise complaints in NYC and what to do about them.
1. The three-month-old next door with the lungs of a silver-back gorilla
As with many young people who haven’t quite learned how to play life by the rules yet, you have to remember you were once a youngster yourself. But that kind of level-headedness doesn’t get you the eight hours of sleep you need before you can face the day. Thing is, crying is the absolute favourite pastime of babies and there’s little you can say to them that will change their mind. Try talking to the parents when you see them in the hall and mention it must be a tough time for them with the baby crying at night. If that subtle hint yields nothing, best invest in a pair of earplugs until the little tyke grows out of it.
2. Party down the hall getting out of hand (and you weren’t invited)
Are you mad at the noise or the fact you’re the only one not having a good time? Either way, some neighborly respect is in order, so here’s what you do: Knock on the door and pleasantly ask if they wouldn’t mind turning the music down/throwing fewer TVs out the window. If you’re met with insolence and the party poses some kind of danger to the residents, you are totally within your rights to call the cops.
3. Newlyweds’ passionate dispute sounds like deleted scene from Rocky
A little tricky this one. On the one hand, arguments are a perfectly normal part of married life, while on the other hand, you might need to step in to stop things getting ugly. If things are being thrown or it sounds violent, call 911. You might feel it’s not your place, but you’re doing the right thing and they’ll probably be quiet in future to stop it happening again.
4. Newlyweds make up and test out the bed springs
Either your neighbors are rehearsing for a stage version of When Harry Met Sally or they’re “doing it”. If it gets beyond the point where you’re giggling like a little girl and it’s actually keeping you awake, it’s time to take action. Banging on the wall/ceiling/floor might embarrass them enough to keep it down. If it doesn’t, call 311 and an officer will go to speak to them when they are not dealing with an emergency.
5. Dog shouting about nothing right next door
Dogs can be jerks. There’s no reasoning with them and in many cases, it goes double for their owners. Whether your neighbor refuses to do something about their noisy pooch or you think the dog is barking due to abuse, you can place a call to 311, and either the NYPD or ASPCA will get involved.
6. Roommates scream when whispering would be fine
Things are especially complicated when the perpetrators live in the same apartment as you. Passive aggressive notes are unlikely to do anything other than encourage them to eat your cheese when you’re out. Don’t put your dairy products at risk; an informal get together every once in a while to discuss apartment rules and air any grievances will go a long way to keeping the peace.
7. Upstairs neighbor appears to be riding a horse to the bathroom
“What the frickin’ frick is that mother fricker upstairs doing?” The problem here is although it sounds like your upstairs neighbor is stomping with all their might, they’re probably just walking on really crappy floors and fixing them could be a huge undertaking. Check your lease to see if there’s any specific rules regarding putting down rugs or carpets that you can draw their attention to.
8. Construction workers tempting you to violently repurpose their jackhammer
Think you have to wake up early? Spare a thought for the poor construction workers who rise at the crack of dawn to make sure they wake you promptly at 7am with a noise that can only be described as apocalyptic. In NYC, construction is permitted between the hours of 7am and 6pm or at anytime on Saturdays on Sundays (WTF?). If you think they’re not following the rules, call 311.
9. Neighbors can’t carry things without pinballing down the hall
They don’t need removal men to move that couch. They can do it themselves easily, it’s just they might have to leave the halls looking like some velociraptors just escaped from one of the apartments. Speak to your landlord or building manager to get them to repair any damage. If they damaged your door or property, you might need to contact the police or a lawyer.
10. Residents have apartment yet choose to do most arguing in the hall
You don’t sit outside of your car when you’re driving it, so why on God’s green earth would you have personal conversation outside of your apartment? You’ll probably find that opening your door in your robe and giving them that half smile that means you still want to be pleasant but you’re quickly losing your patience gets the message across. If it’s a regular thing, call your landlord and see what they can do. It it’s an unruly party or intense fight going on, time to pull out the big guns and call the police.
Featured cover image: The Cooperator New York