Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My neighbor's audio porn habit is affecting my kids

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | December 15, 2010 - 1:54PM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

I am a diehard New Yorker - nothing about living here fazes me, not even bed bugs.  Until NOW. 

My kids share a room and that room shares a wall with a porn fanatic.  We frequently hear the bass beat and the moaning, screaming, and limited but cheesey dialogue. While my kids were in the bath the other day, my 3-year-old daughter starting screaming, "OH GOD OH YES OH GOD OH YES..." over and over.  So not only are my children listening and being disturbed by this garbage but they are repeating it!!! 

I know the drill you've advised before-- a nice letter, a stern letter, mediation, yadda, yadda.... But I think listening to my child channel Jenna Jameson calls for more IMMEDIATE and DEFINITIVE action.  I'm ready to move somewhere with no shared walls.


Porn Driving Me to Peekskill


Will you grant me a little chuckle over the fact that Peekskill was the setting for the show, "The Facts of Life"? 

Your kids are getting the fiction about the facts too fast, I concur.  I would explain to them that the noises they are hearing through the walls are not to repeated.  If they ask why, tell them the words are being said in a bad way and leave it at that (3 years old is a little young to get into more detail than that).  On the self-help front, you could buy a white noise machine or swap bedrooms with the kids if you have to.

However, I do think this is true noise pollution that is interfering with your life in a serious and damaging way, so yes, speak directly or send a firmly worded letter to your neighbor requesting that he turn down the sex soundtrack.

The next step is a graphic letter to the managing company and/or board. It is their ultimate responsibility to provide a quiet and habitable place of residence, even if that means soundproofing the shared wall. (Friends of mine received a threat of eviction from their building's lawyer because their floors weren't 80% carpeted; I am certain you would take their twins dragging chairs around over what you are going through any day of the week.)

All that being said, it seems like this noise was present for some time but it is your daughter's repetition of the content that has really upset you and rightly so.  The noise can and should be dealt with like most other noise complaints.  I wish, as I am sure you do, that I could make your child 'un-hear' it but sadly I cannot.

Get loud for quiet,

Ms. Demeanor


Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.


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