We got together with some friends this past weekend who recently moved out of New York City to Westchester. They were listing all of the amazing things about their new home – the backyard, the playroom in the basement, the pool, a big spacious kitchen with windows, blah, blah, blah. Then, they inquired about when we were making the big move out of town. Not happening for us yet! Sure, getting more space for your money is a nice luxury, but so is living in the big city with all of its amenities and conveniences for parents. It’s funny, later on after a few drinks, they admitted that the commute was a pain in the ass and that if they could afford it, they would buy a small studio apartment to keep their close ties.
We are within 10 blocks of six playgrounds, we have a pharmacy, pizza shop, gym, and deli on our block, four avenues to Central Park, and within a 15-minute walk or bus ride to some of the best child-friendly museums in the world. We love the city!
What we don’t love is when our son gets woken up from his sleep because of our noisy neighbors! Yes, one shortcoming of our apartment is that we have a noisy neighbor that lives above us. To combat the noise, our son sleeps with a white noise sound machine each night that sounds like a light rain as well as a constant hum from his humidifier. That combination generally drones out any noise in the hallways or conversations between my wife and me. Additionally, our son is aware that some noises are normal because we live in a building and there are sounds on the street of sirens, horns, and buses zooming by. We were not prepared for what happened last night.
After putting my son to sleep last night, our apartment began to shake and rattle. No, it was not another earthquake. As it was happening, I was cursing the guy above us because I knew he was the culprit and it was going to cause my son to get out of his bed. Sure enough, within minutes, my son came out of his room and asked me what was happening – I told him that our neighbor was probably making a cake so he was using a mixer to get the batter nice and smooth.
I walked my son back to his bed and, fortunately, he only got out of his bed once more. I was racking my brain at what the constant clomping and shaking could be. Finally, my son fell asleep and I went upstairs to knock on the door of our neighbor.
A brief history: This is the third time I have knocked on this guy’s door.
First time – we moved in six months ago and two nights in a row from 6 p.m. til all hours of the night, it sounded like someone was screeching their fingernails on a chalkboard. My son woke up multiple times during those two nights and so I knocked to find out the cause. It turns out the guy had buddies over for a card game and it was the wooden chairs scraping on the hardwood floor – my wife suggested giving him these felt stickers that go on the bottom of furniture to lessen the noise – problem solved.
Second time: New Year’s Eve. I get it. New Year’s Eve is a night for parties and celebrations. True, but at what time do you say the “party is over.” The noise this time sounded like someone was weightlifting, and every 5 minutes or so the barbells were slamming against the floor. Our son was up from 4 a.m. – 5:30 a.m. until I marched up there to complain.
So, I knocked on the door last night and I explained to our neighbor that my son was up a couple of times from the noise. “Oh, that was my treadmill”, he said. It was the guy upstairs running on his treadmill perfectly timed for my son’s bedtime. Before I could say anything, the guy said, “I understand you are upset. I was a light sleeper when I was little and I won’t use the treadmill at night anymore.” “In fact, here is my cell number…next time, just call or text me about the noise and I will stop rather than you knocking on my door.”
I was a bit surprised that he was so empathetic, but Stay tuned to see how this all plays out.
Wondering if other parents have similar challenges with parenting and noisy neighbors?
I know exactly what you mean. My husband and I were thrilled when we moved to Harlem, New York. The real problem is that we moved next door to a “nonprofit” called The Mama Foundation. The Mama Foundation operates with a complete disregard for the quality of life and health of its neighbors. Housed in a brownstone on a residential block, the Mama Foundation is so noisy that the police have been called several times. The Mama Foundation has also been warned by the Department of Environmental Protection, but it continues to behave with a callous indifference to its neighbors. Youths loiter on neighboring homes, and noise on some Friday nights, Saturday afternoons and even sometimes Sunday is horrible. The only thing that is important to the Mama Foundation is to exploit naive young people and abuse neighbors in its tawdry clutch at second-hand fame. Next time, stick around to learn about the noise!