Living Next To

Living next to a concert hall: Camp-outs, pot smoke and public urination

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We recently moved into our absolute dream neighborhood --we're in the heart of the Upper West Side, close to Fairway, Citarella, the express train... and the Beacon Theater.

The Beacon is iconic. It's a legendary entertainment venue that's hosted some of the biggest names in music,  and in the beginning, we were so excited about all the shows and concerts we might see. We loved the idea that we'd only need to walk a few steps home after a show. 

Now it also happens to be the neighbor that we can't stand.

Our window faces the stage door, so on most nights, there are screaming fans waiting for a glimpse of the night's act.

The Beacon Theater also tends to book a series of concerts from the same band several nights in a row. For the most part, it's really not a problem.  But not always. Earlier this spring, for instance, the theater hosted a rock band called Furthur for practically eight straight nights. 

The droves of people who came out to see the show -- mostly fans of the former Grateful Dead band members who now make up Furthur -- started to completely take over the neighborhood.

Night after night dozens of fans slept on our sidewalks hoping to score tickets. I had to weave around their bodies on my way to the subway every morning.

There was also a constant haze of marijuana smoke surrounding the theater. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was when I saw a concertgoer who had been sleeping outside urinate on a mailbox in front of our apartment building.

By the fourth night, I was taking the long way home to avoid walking in front of the Beacon. By then, there were also cops in front of the theater trying to handle the crowds.

And on the eighth night, I poured a glass of wine to celebrate the end of this incredibly unpleasant second-hand concert experience. 

While most concerts at the theater attract a pleasant enough fan base (and luckily, we can't hear the music at all inside our apartment), these eight nights were enough to make me wish we didn't live next to the Beacon Theater. 

That said, the neighborhood overall trumps the occasional inconveniences of the theater, and I'd still move in knowing everything that I know now. I'd just prepare better for the jam bands.


Living Next to....explores the good, the bad, and the memorable of living near someplace other would rather not. Have a story to share? Let us know--we'd love to hear!

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