Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My neighbors blast their television all night! How do I get them to lower the volume?

By Dianne Ackerman  | February 1, 2019 - 12:00PM


My neighbors are hard of hearing and they blast their television all evening long. I can hear their shows in my apartment! What should I do?
Signed, Sick of the Noise

Dear Sick,

This is a tricky situation because loud television playing before 10:00 p.m. is not considered a nuisance. I would knock on their door and very gently ask them to lower the volume. You might also suggest, even more gently, that they get headphones. This way they could keep the volume on as loud as they like.

Once they are informed— they may be completely oblivious to your inconvenience— they may comply. If this does not happen, you could ask other neighbors if the noise is disturbing to them as well. There is strength in numbers, and if it’s a problem for others, you could all go to the board and lodge a complaint. Keep in mind that this is just another example of how people living in little boxes above and under and next to each other need to figure out how to get along.

If these measures fail to work, invite them into your place to watch television all together. At least you will get to watch your programs (your home, your choice) without an echo.

Ms. Demeanor

Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.

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