White Noise
Son of Baldwin

OK, a few things:

First, in NYC, most people almost NEVER interact w/their neighbors in any kind of positive or polite way. Soo, jumping right to management and the police is very likely not b/c the loud guy was black, but likely b/c people are sh*t.

By the same token, depending on how white these folks were, it’s possible they were too afraid to confront him in person, b/c, you know, if he’s black he MUST be scary! B/C white people are REALLY stupid that way.

And, let’s not forget something really important: Black and Hispanics in the city are, by and large, much louder than the white hispters and suburbanites who come to the city. And being considerate of your neighbors in that regard is something that’s laughed at. B/C they’re stupid in THAT way.

So, having pissed off all of you, here’s how I handle living in the city: Anytime I move — and I’ve lived in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and in various parts of Manhattan itself— I introduce myself to ALL neighbors w/whom I share a wall. I tell them they should NOT be shy to let me know if my TV or music or anything is ever too loud. And I stress that my door’s always open should they need anything. And once that’s all accepted, I actually throw in, “Oh, and I hope it’s OK, if I ever think you’re too loud if I come tell you.” This has always been acceptable. So, here’s how that has turned out in different apt. buildings with different neighbors:

  • old white guy: knocked on my floor w/a broom handle on occasion. This was fine by me, we had a good relationship.
  • crazy black guy: very noisy; was moving furniture or something daily between 2am and 4am. Tried talking to him, management, police, eventually went the route of driving him crazy w/loud music (I played the Banana Splits “Tra-la-la” song over and over [Google it!] for hours when I was not home. It absolutely drove him crazy. He attacked me in the hallway once. We fought. Police came, took us both into the station. They put us in separate holding cells, but we were not under arrest. He apparently was acting up in the station (again, he was totally nuts), got threatened w/actual arrest. He stopped being an a-hole after that.
  • not crazy black guy: I knocked on his door, let him know I hear every single phone conversation he has. He laughed, told me there’s no way he’s that loud. And then I told him some of the conversations. It stopped.
  • Angry white lesbian: Not only SUPER-LOUD (always) but would stomp around the apt as if she had no idea she had neighbors (and I lived ABOVE her! That’s how loud her stomping was!), would slam her door, throw her shoes on the floor, talk loudly, and seemed to hammer things pretty regularly at around midnight. So, first, I asked her nicely to be more mindful. Then I asked again in a note about 2 weeks later. Then I heard her on the phone cussing me. Luckily, I had befriended someone at management’s office. She called the neighbor and told her in no uncertain terms that they’d begin eviction proceedings. At which point the neighbor came up to apologize to me. For the several years that I lived above her, I would occasionally have to stomp around in my boots to remind her who can really make whose life miserable.
  • Angry white straight woman: Totally had a thing for me. Became Stompy Stomperson after she apparently heard me having very loud sex. Only stopped when I confronted her about the sex thing.
  • Crazy Asian woman: Serial liar, tortured neighbor after neighbor w/noise before I moved in. Having learned from past experiences, figured out how to ensure this was handled correctly: Kept a log of the noise, called police when appropriate (wrote that in log); eventually sent certified letter in which I quoted my lease and the right to “quiet enjoyment of my home” to management giving them 30 days to correct the problem. After 30 days, and the problem predictably continued and was ignored, I began putting my rent in an escrow account, sent management a letter instead of a rent check. Management took me to court. But b/c i had a log, a neighbor as a witness, and a list of other issues, for which I had paperwork from the Dept. of Health and NYC HPD proving another 10 or so violations, I won in court — and I’d counter-sued for my (by then) full year’s rent plus $3k in moving costs.

So that long post tells you one important thing to keep in mind in NYC: I need a girlfriend.

Thank you and good night.