Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Me vs. my upstairs neighbor

For the last several months I have not gotten a full night's sleep. No, it's not insomnia or me being a social butterfly. It's because of my neighbor upstairs, or more specifically her animals.

It started way back in December when she first moved in and has been getting progressively worse. She has two cats and a dog in an apartment the same size as mine and they are very active at night. Add in a late-nite vacuuming habit and the sound of chairs scraping over hardwood and you have a recipe for one cranky Roxy. I have spoken to her at least once a month. Each time I get a sob story (I'm working three jobs! I can't afford food for them!) and promises to try harder. I think I've been pretty fair -- I asked her to please get a rug or crate the animals at night. Not to get rid of the animals, not to move, just please keep them quiet between 10 PM and 9 AM.

I can't watch a movie when the animals are running around. I can't concentrate on my writing. I can't really enjoy my apartment. But my neighbor doesn't really seem to care. I've gotten suggestions ranging from sane (call the cops) to insane (buzz her door every overnight when it starts). I tried calling 311. They referred me to the housing department who said -- get this -- we can't do anything unless the dog is barking. My head hurts trying to figure that one out. I called the cops who refused to come. They said I had to talk to my landlord first. If my landlord refused to do anything then I could call them back. Ok, fine. Red tape and I are quickly becoming great friends in Manhattan.

So finally I knew I had to escalate this to non-Super. Whether I liked it or not neither I nor my guests talking to the neighbor had done anything and it was time to escalate. As usual it took me about two weeks before I could actually get in touch with non-Super, who promised to talk to upstairs neighbor. That was in April. I gave it a month as the noise continued to pound away at my sanity.

Come May 1st I started calling non-Super every day at various times between 9 AM and 5 PM. I finally got in touch with non-Super about a week later. Again, promises to talk to the neighbor. Again, no action.

A few days ago after a particularly hard day at work I came home at 8 PM and collapsed on my couch. My head was pounding and I just needed to unwind. But 5 minutes later upstairs neighbor came home and the noise started immediately. Completely fed up, I called non-Super after hours and refused to hang up until some action would be taken. Non-Super came over immediately. Thank the lord.

Ten minutes later, a knock at my door as a crying upstairs neighbor and non-Super told me they'd talked through some ideas so that I could actually sleep. That night, for the first time in months, I slept through the entire night. No noise. And since, it's been a lot better at night. Sometimes I still hear noise but it usually stops within an acceptable amount of time. The days are unfortunately not much better but at this point I'm not ready to escalate again.

The biggest question in my mind is how are there no laws about this? And who thought it would be smart to build paper-thin floors?

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