Monday, 7 May 2007

Noisy Neighbours

I moved into my apartment in Park Slope in November 2004. I like my apartment and its location and I enjoyed whatever little time I got to spend in it until recently. I have a new neighbour and his three kids make tons of noise. It is only since he moved in a few months ago that I realised the walls are paper thin! My building is a new one and has seven floors. I am on the top floor which has four apartments and when I came here I was the only person living on the floor. A weird woman with a parrot and two dogs (one morning she told me that the dog was still a baby and went to nursery school!) then moved in, an elderly couple followed by her and then a couple with a little girl. Weird woman I smelt more than I saw or maybe it was the dogs; either way the scent in the corridor or inside the elevator always meant she had just came/went. She moved out just over a year later and a young couple with a little boy moved in. The elderly couple seems to live part of their time somewhere else and is very pleasant. The couple with the little girl lived in the apartment next to me and it is when they moved out a few months ago that my nightmare began. I never had any problems with them and I even remember asking the lady once when we were in the elevator if she by any chance ever heard my music and she said no but she wished she did becaue her bedroom faced the street and the noise from the traffic bothered her.

Now, instead of my peaceful retreat from New York City, I feel as if I am living next to a school. My apartment is filled with constant loud screaming- both babysitter and kids, doors banging, balls bouncing, kids thumping hardwood floors as they run up and down, and toilet seats, yes toilet seats slamming! I say my apartment is filled because that is what it seems like- the noise is so loud and the walls so thin it appears as if it is next to me. I love children and I believe in them playing and being happy so I refrained from complaining at first. However, there is also something called discipline and consideration for others and when it got to a point where it became unbearable I knocked on the door and politely asked the babysitter (father was not there) to ask the kids to tone it down a little. A few minutes of peace and then the ruckus resumed. I called the landlord next day and told him that I was having a problem with noise from my neighbours and I was letting him know before I went to speak to the father. The landlord said that the guy was a reasonable man but if the noise continued he would have a word with him. I waited a few days to see if there would be any change but there was none so I went to speak to the father. Before I could finish what I was saying, he bluntly said that they were kids and there wasn’t much he could do! I said I know they are kids, but the noise is quite a lot and I am just asking for them not to bang on the walls, not to scream so loudly and not to run up and down so much. He then stated that I should be grateful as they only stayed with him for two weeks each month- he is divorced and they spend the other two weeks with their mom. So I should be grateful that children who don’t belong to me or are not related to me only invade my apartment with noise for two weeks a month!

The noise abated for the next two weeks but today it returned with a vengeance- the twirps are back. They came home from school and the noise began. I started to get a headache so I called the landlord who told me there was nothing he can do as it is just kids playing and not loud music in the middle of the night! I was flabbergasted. He was insistent that there is nothing he can do. I decided to go and once again ask them to keep down the noise. The babysitter answered, I was very polite, she gave me attitude and parroted the father- they are kids, full stop.

I am at my wits end and I have no idea what to do. I love children. I have 14 nephews and nieces and I know how noisy they can be, especially boys and for the most part the noise does not bother me. However, there is a limit and I don’t see why I should have to sit in my apartment and be subjected to a racket caused by a stranger’s kids!


esskaym said...

good luck individuality. i once lived in an apartment where i was awakened every morning with the sound of something spinning right above my bed. Then the spinning thing would slow down over the space of 20 mins from click, click, click, click to It sounded alot like the wheel of fortune wheel. It drove me insane. EVERY MORNING. On weekends it seems like a bariffle of children were jumping up and down on my head. Talking to my neighbours and complaining to the office didnt help. My home is my sanctuary. I ended up moving out. Never did find out what the spinny thing was either.

individuality1977 said...

Thanks. Complaining to the offending party and the landlord has not helped and I doubt I will get much joy from my office either. People who think a diplomatic posting is the easy life need to experience it for themselves!

esskaym said...

Bummer. Hopefully they move out soon. It could be worse though. I once had an upstairs neighbour puke on my balcony....guess they didnt feel like messing up theirs. After the Wheel of Fortune fiasco, I've always lived on the top floor and insisted on concrete floors.

Genie X said...

I am slowly making my way through your blog and enjoying it immensely.

When I lived in New York, I lived on the top floor of an old walk up on the Upper East Side. As my apartment was in the back (as opposed to the roadside) and the walls were thick (it was an old building), it was as quiet as a graveyard. I use to feel like I lived in the entire building alone. It was NIRVANA.

Here in London, I live in a more modern building. The apartments are ultra-chic, but like yours the walls are not very thick. I don’t hear the people on either side of me too much (I think they are older couples, or certainly childless) but above me there is a couple with two little boys, around 5 and 3 years old who I do hear crying (one of them seems to do this constantly), running, jumping etc. Luckily, though, their apartment is broken up into 4 levels and they seem to focus their activities more on the three other levels than they one right above my head. Though one night, when I was trying to do some work, one of them seemed to be jumping or bouncing a ball or doing something which created a loud thump, thump, thump, thump on and on and on. I was just putting on my shoes to go ring their bell when it stopped.

Apparently, “neighbours from hell” is a huge problem here and noise is the number one complaint. I guess this is the problem with packing people on top of one another, and not putting enough padding between them. If you lived here you could have your neighbours served with an ASBO – Anti-Social Behaviour Order (only the British could come up with such a thing). I don’t know if ASBOs are effective, but your neighbours would certainly get the message that you mean business.

individuality1977 said...

Esskaym, vomit, balconies etc. Man that sounds like university!

Genie X, thanks for your comments about the blog. I try my best to keep it interesting despite my constraints.

I am familiar with the British thin wall situation. In my second year of uni I stayed with two friends in an apartment building in Holloway. We had a few complaints about our noise levels! In third year I stayed in a Halls of Residence- 6 people to a nice enough apartment considering it was uni accommodation! Very thin walls though between rooms and I had to use loud music so as to not hear the screams from one flatmates room on weekends- his girlfriend visited from Friday night till Sunday morning. At least I had the luxury of using music. On Monday morning while I was sound asleep, another flatmate who had early class and would be ironing in the hallway would be subjected to the screams of the little Italian woman. He could not use loud music in the hallway :-)

I need to find a solution to this problem however. I'm not a poor student anymore and I don't see why at age 29 I need to put up with this foolishness!