New York City apartment dwellers will pay dearly for three things:

-Light

-Space

-Quiet

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They pay because these are the hardest to come by, but there are ways to increase your share of all three. Light is enhanced in your apartment by careful use of curtains and wall colors. You can gain space in your abode either by renting external storage space, or by calling in a professional organizer to maximize what you have.

What about quiet? Cities are noisy, but there are solutions. One is Cityproof windows, which reduces noise coming from outside the building. Internal noise requires more effort, and the first line of defense is to carpet floors adequately. In fact, Fort Tryon Gardens requires that 80% of your floor space be carpeted. If you play an instrument or like your music loud, sound-absorbent carpet is an easy solution. Professional musicians use it so they can play at all hours, and it’s not terribly expensive.

image2But what if your neighbors are not as careful as you about the level of sound emanating from their dwelling? In other words, what can you do about noisy neighbors? You have choices:

  • Call the police. This is not likely to be effective unless there’s a real brawl.
  • Write a letter to building management. It will take time to bring about enforcement.
  • Take matters into your own hands, and knock on the neighbor’s door.

The last is the most efficacious, but it takes will on your part. Most of us aren’t aware of how far our noise carries, and few of us would willingly disturb our neighbors’ peace. It’s reasonable to assume good will if you take this tactic.

So knock on the door, announce yourself as a neighbor, and make them aware of the disturbance saying, for example, “You may not be aware of how sound carries in this building.” Ninety-nine percent of the time they will apologize, comply, and thank you. Wouldn’t you do the same?

If they don’t, you may have to opt for the second tactic. And you should take action. Building management has a vested interest in maintaining a pleasant living space, and will notify the offending party.

Any action you take is better than feeling annoyed, and you’ll do yourself and other residents a favor. Remember, music pounding in hallways or apartments generates a negative impression when potential buyers are considering a purchase. Don’t we all want our property to be highly valued? So help with the noise factor, so that a noise doesn’t annoy.

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Mary Jane

Mary Jane Wilkie has been teacher (music, children’s theatre, Spanish, and ESL), had a corporate career (sales and marketing), and a career as a translator. She has given workshops and presentations on various music and spiritual topics, and has published articles on children and music. She has been music director of high-school musicals and director of children’s theatre workshops. She currently works as an independent contractor, deriving most of her income from recruitment for a national non-profit. She also served as a Fort Tryon Gardens board member beginning in 2015.

Latest posts by Mary Jane (see all)

  1. April 17, 2015

    What would also be helpful is if people took the 80% floor covering rule seriously. Not only does it muffle sounds so the ceiling of your downstairs’ neighbor is no longer your stage, but it impedes sounds traveling out your door,

    Please oh please, neighbors, take this rule seriously. It is not a favor…it’s an actual rule.

    Lovely article, Mary Jane. And I like your hats!!

  2. April 25, 2015

    Thanks so much for posting this article.

    I wonder if it’s possible to remind people (in some formal, official capacity – perhaps a letter from the Board or the Management Company?) that 80% coverage is the requirement. This might be helpful especially when neighbors are renters and not shareholders.

  3. April 26, 2015

    You might need to remind your neighbors that this is one of the house rules. They may be (innocently) unaware.

    Thanks, Christianne and I like your dog. “Baxter” is a classy name.

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