Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Speak up--or quiet down--about the neighbor's piano?

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | November 2, 2011 - 2:26PM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

I have the loveliest new neighbors with the loveliest 8-year-old who takes piano lessons.  He actually practices too which is great for them, not so great for us - the piano is on an adjoining wall.  

I hate to open the Pandora's box of noise complaints because I am guessing our TV is pretty loud, but if I have to hear 'fur elise' one more time I will weep.  What to do?

Your very truly,

Piano not Forte

Dear P.N.F.,

Judge not lest ye be judged, especially if ye plays the television loudly or are planning a renovation in the next 10 years.  

I find it hard to imagine a child practicing for more than an hour per evening unless he has tiger parents or is a prodigy. If he plays at reasonable times for a reasonable amount of time, don't open that Pandora's box just yet.  Of all the shared noises in the vertical village, 'Fur Elise' is one of the least objectionable.  Have you ever heard the sound of tiles being cut or the incessant hammering necessary to replace wood floors? (For more, please see last week's column).  

Perhaps you can use his practice time to do something worthwhile out of the living room or the apartment altogether?  Make dinner, go to the gym, take a hot bath...  Thank the apartment gods for lovely neighbors and for the fact that the kid isn't a drummer... yet.

Stay forte,

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.


Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.