Photo: Jens Karlsson/Flickr
Apartment hunting in the Big Apple also means taking a closer look, or listen, to prospective dwellings to see if they’re a sound fit for your lifestyle, and admittedly there is almost nothing worse than moving into your dream pad only to discover soon after that quite possibly that the noisiest person in the entire city lives beside you — or worse, above you!
Before you declare an all-out war of heavy bass and blasting surround sound, take a breath and try one of these 12 tips to get that neighbor to pipe down:
1. Sound dampening decorating
Some older New York City buildings have a reputation for paper thin walls, and sound travels easily. Adding carpeting, even area rugs, can help dampen the sounds invading your sanctuary. You can create wall buffers with cork boarding, and easily cover it up with your own style of Picasso.
2. Mood music
Background music at an acceptable level can go a long way at drowning out a blaring television or screeching audio playlist. Find music that relaxes you and helps create a warm, inviting space. It goes without saying that if the music is too soft, it won’t have much of an effect and you may find yourself more agitated with your neighbor.
3. Don’t underestimate white noise
While it is not as melodic as Chopin, white noise can dramatically reduce irritating background sounds. Noisili is just one app for smartphones than can help drown out distracting sounds. Finding the right white noise can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep or another night of tossing and turning for seven hours.
4. Invest in quality head phones
Let’s face it, the “ear buds” that come bundled with most media players and smartphones are barely adequate for daily use, let alone up to the task of drowning out a pesky noisy neighbor. Spend a few extra dollars on quality, name brand noise cancelling headphones. If you splurge for a wireless Bluetooth pair, you truly have the freedom to roam your apartment oblivious to what is currently blasting out of your neighbor’s pad.
5. Invest in Muzo, the personal zone creator
Muzo is a new piece of technology that prevents nearby objects from vibrating and minimizes noise disturbances. In addition, it acts as a mood creator by allowing users to set their own mood by mixing some of the 1000-plus soundscapes that come built in.
6. Calmer heads always prevail
No matter how frustrated you may get, it is important to remain calm at all times when dealing with your neighbor. You will inevitably have to see said neighbor down the line, and there’s no reason to make those future interactions awkward or even downright uncomfortable.
7. Tasty peace offering
No one can say no to chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, right? It doesn’t hurt to win over your noisy neighbor right from the start with a little sugary bribe. It’s also harder to argue if you’re mouth is full of baked goods.
8. Make friends, and influence people
There are times to let that New York attitude out, but confronting your noisy neighbor isn’t one of them. Make friends. Introduce yourself. Shake hands. Make small talk. Then, explain how the noise is affecting you. No finger pointing, just a simple,”Hey, I go to bed at 10 and it’s hard to sleep because I clearly hear every line of Law and Order in my bedroom.”
9. Talk to your landlord, part one
If your friend-winning warm smile and Magnolia fail to win over your neighbor, go straight to your landlord. Do not escalate, but start documenting. Dates, time, type of noise, how loud on a scale from 1 to 10. Be specific and through. You may need it later.
10. Old fashioned ear plugs
You’ve talked to your neighbor, and your landlord — several times — but still the noise persists. If you don’t have or want to shell out the extra money on technology-based hardware solutions, there’s nothing wrong with going old school and picking up $5 ear plugs at Duane Reade. They even come in neon orange or bright yellow. Either will do the trick and save you some cash.
11. Talk to your landlord, part two
Now is about the time you wish you had spoken with your landlord before you moved in about how important reasonable quiet is to you. Make a note of this for next time. Letting your landlord know upfront about your sound requirements may help you when you come to them later with noise complaints, since they were aware of your needs and the noisy neighbor.
12. Always look for an apartment on the top floor
Photo: Ragnar Jensen/Flickr
This might also be on your “for next time” list, but always shoot for the top floor. It immediately cuts down on the running, stomping, and “are they wearing wooden clogs at 3am?” banging and clanging on your ceiling from the upstairs neighbors.
But be warned — now that you know how unbearable it is to live with a noisy neighbor, do your best not to become one yourself! Lay down those carpets and take off your shoes, or don’t be surprised if you get a knock on your door from someone offering a handshake and a cupcake.