Would You Rather?

Would you rather suffer noisy neighbors or their complaints?

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The city is loud enough without your neighbor's late night drum practice adding to the din. Then again, you don't want an angry visit from the man downstairs (who seems to have superhuman hearing!) every time you entertain a guest or two. We asked five New Yorkers which neighborly imposition is worse: noise ... or noise complaints? 

Sound decision: Honestly, I’d rather be the one making the noise than the one being disturbed by it. I’m selfish like that. #Sorrynotsorry - Frederick, Upper West Side

80 percent quiet: I’m a pretty quiet person and I personally follow that 80 percent carpet rule. [Editor's note: some buildings require residents to cover 80 percent of their floors with carpets to tamp down noise.] So as long as I do that, I know there is nothing I have to worry about, even with a noise-sensitive neighbor. ... It’s unpleasant to live next to neighbors who hate you, but I would still prefer not to have noisy neighbors above or next to me! - Nao, Morningside Heights

Sensitive to noise: I’ve lived next to a very noise-sensitive neighbor. She was an elderly lady whose biggest fear was a neighbor who was loud. She was very quiet, but every time it got even just a little bit loud in our apartment, she would come over and ask if she was being too loud. It was her passive aggressive way of telling us to be quiet. One time, a friend came over with his violin and sure enough, the doorbell rang and it was my 90-year-old neighbor. She said she just happened to have bought two bunches of bananas by accident, and she wanted me to have the other bunch to apologize for how loud her TV must have been. I’d take an old, noise-sensitive sweetheart like that anytime! - Hannah, Upper West Side

No complaints: I have a dog, and my upstairs neighbor has a dog and two kids. I don’t particularly enjoy hearing footsteps run across my ceiling all the time, but then I suppose, neither does my downstairs neighbor who hears my dog and myself walking. Noise is just a part of apartment living. ... What I wouldn’t want is some killjoy knocking on my door, or knocking on my walls all the time, yelling at me to keep it down. - Sean, Inwood

Silence is golden: If I had to choose, I’d rather have my peace and quiet. Meaning, I don’t want noisy neighbors. I can’t control that. But I can control my own noise. If that means giving somebody else some peace and quiet by putting down some rugs, or turning the TV down, then fine! I’d never insist on playing my music loudly, or having loud parties. I’ve lived in the city long enough to know to err on the side of quiet. - Alexis, Upper East Side

Results: Peace and quiet: 3; Bring on the noise: 2

Winner: No noise wins!

Related:

The cost of silence in NYC? $8,000 a wall

Soundproofing to save your sanity: Affordable options for renters?

How to find a quiet apartment

Soundproofing my windows changed my life

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