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29 June 2011

The joys of new apartment living Our new neighbors who like loud music[More:] and up until last night, it had never been a problem. Play it all day, all night, I don't care. The walls in the building are very thick, so once we're tucked away in our place, we don't get that much noise, particularly in all rooms but the bedroom. But last night, they started it up around 11:30 pm, and in the bedroom, we can feel the bass. I want to write a note to them asking that they please not play loud music after 11 pm, does this sound OK? I feel like I need a better intro, but I don't know what it is.

Hello neighbors!

We heard music with a loud bass last night through our shared walls. It started around 11:30 p.m. after we were in bed, and we could hear it again around 2 a.m. We are working professionals and really need our sleep, so we ask that you please refrain from playing loud music from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. Moving the subwoofer of your stereo off the floor and away from the walls might help the sound carry less over to our apartment.

Thank you! Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

Your new neighbors in 5G
This post has many typos and non-sensical bits. Can you tell I slept poorly? Not entirely their fault- the dog also woke me up at 6:15 for a walk.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 08:51
One possible issue: I don't know if the neighbors speak English, or how well. The building seems heavily populated by those who speak Spanish as a primary language.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 08:55
I think it's a nice note. Of course, given their already apparent disregard for their neighbors, they may crumple up your note and throw it out the window. But you won't know until you try.

If they don't read English, I imagine they know someone who can translate the note? But I am completely ignorant about how people manage to function in a country where they don't speak or read the primary language.
posted by amro 29 June | 09:09
Up here in Washington Heights, Spanish is the primary language. It might be me who needs to learn how to better function.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 09:12
Well, it would be cool to get fluent in another language... I wish I was fluent in Spanish. Or any other language, really, thought Spanish would be the most useful.
posted by amro 29 June | 09:15
If I were you I'd get to know them first; ring their door bell, say you're the new neighbours. A bit of smalltalk. And then mention that you heard music. Etc.
People find it easier to take into account the needs of people they are friendly with.
posted by jouke 29 June | 09:23
I thought about that, but I don't know that people in New York really get into all that. I'm interested in hearing others' thoughts on that. I've had tons of neighbors (at the old place), and with one exception, none have seemed to have any interest in being friendly. And I'll admit that I'm part of that- I don't need my neighbors to be my pals, I just need them to shut the *&@#@ up after 11 p.m.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 09:28
That said, I definitely could do it, I'm not afraid to.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 09:30
Yeah, having gone through the exact same thing, jouke has the right approach. You'll also be able to get a feel for whether they'll try to quiet down, or if they'll decide to be insufferable pricks, and turn up the music as they leave the apartment for the day.*

Also, instead of asking them to turn it down, could you ask them to adjust the bass? Or is the loudness so much that adjusting the bass won't really make a difference?

*I hate my neighbors so much.
posted by punchtothehead 29 June | 09:31
It's more bass than anything else.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 09:33
I agree about meeting them in person. There's something about notes that always annoys me a little bit.
posted by JanetLand 29 June | 09:48
My upstairs neighbour likes to put notes on people's cars and through their doors about various things (mostly about what he perceives to be bad parking) and it upsets people and is, imo, passive-aggressive. I agree about having a friendly word with them.
posted by Senyar 29 June | 10:54
I agree that face to face is best. Just knock on the door in the early evening and be sweet and polite. I teach a lot of Dominican students (and since it's the Heights, they're probably from DR), and, in general, they're very huggy, kiss-on-each-cheek social folks (not with strangers right away necessarily, but once they meet you and know you a little). With loud, late-night, middle of the week music, you're probably dealing with young males. A sweet and polite and like, "you'd really be helping me out" type of approach will work best, generally. Don't be shocked if you get a macho, checking you out type of response at first; it's harmless. Just make light of it and let them know what you need. (If Marc goes with you, it would avoid that, most likely.)

Language may indeed be an issue. Does Marc speak spanish? If so, you may want to have him go with you. It might be good, in fact, if you go together, again, in the early evening, and introduce yourselves as new neighbors, as others have suggested, and ask about the music, in a friendly way.

Do not do that note. They will be insulted. The music will get louder, and then you've got a problem. But hey, that's just my p.o.v., for what it's worth.

After that, if the music's loud again, Marc could go back and do the "you know, my wife, man" shrug kind of thing; that might work. You may need to gently make the request several times.

If all else fails, show tunes at top volume at six a.m. may get the message across. ; )
posted by Pips 29 June | 10:59
(Congrats, by the way, on the new place... I missed yesterday's move-in post. Place looks real cute. I'm sure you'll work the music thing out. Go with Marc. Be friendly. It'll be fine.)
posted by Pips 29 June | 11:00
Does Marc speak spanish?

Alas, he does not! We both want to learn- I took a great deal of Spanish in college, I really enjoyed it. And Marc wants to learn for church work.

Thank you all for your good advice. We will make an effort to introduce ourselves.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 11:01
Yeah, it's a really nice yet direct note, but I agree that a brief in-person chat is better. It will probably be harder to be as direct when face-to-face, but it will likely feel much friendlier and less confrontational to the person receiving it. (If you do send the note the only thing I'd change is the "we're professionals" thing which might feel like a jab if the neighbor is not working or works in the service or trades sectors.)

The language barrier could actually help because you'll have to resort to gestures like plugging your ears and pointing down or whatever, and as long as you do it with a smile on your face it should be OK.

Unless they're dickwads - then you're screwed either way.
posted by serazin 29 June | 11:17
Sounds like a plan... your college spanish may get you through, in a pinch. You'd think after living two years in Miami and teaching nine years in the Bronx, I'd know more spanish than I do, but sad to say, no (I do have a healthy repertoire of curses, though -- teenagers).

Marc's role as a minister, by the way, could be useful, too, if it happens to come up. Dominicans are generally Catholic, but, on the whole, very respectful of religion.

Others in the building may not be too thrilled with the music either, especially at two in the morning. Others may have already said something. Perhaps it was an anomaly (bad day, maybe). In any case, good luck!
posted by Pips 29 June | 11:21
Maybe I'll have Marc put his collar on before we knock on the door? ;)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 11:43
I'm grinning, but that's not a bad idea, actually (the collar, I mean). Any potential hostility will instantly melt away, very likely.

I bet once they meet you guys, you won't have any problems. It's hard to say more without knowing who you're dealing with exactly; could be a kid whose mother works nights. Who knows? In any case, I'm sure it will be fine. Some of my toughest looking students are such sweethearts underneath, and generally very protective of women (the upside of machismo).
posted by Pips 29 June | 12:07
I told him he needs to figure out where the collared shirts are :)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 12:20
Maybe I'll have Marc put his collar on before we knock on the door? - This is moving into the realm of a Clint Eastwood western.
posted by Ardiril 29 June | 13:12
There's nothing like a good piece of hickory.

(let's hope it doesn't come to that ; )
posted by Pips 29 June | 13:16
I stopped by the apartment over lunch for about 30 minutes- when I came in, the music was absolutely blaring next door, louder than ever. Played for 5-10 minutes, then it was off for the rest of the time. Odd neighbors.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 13:49
I posted my solution here. Loud music is an invitation to party. Invite yourself over and don't take no for an answer.

One of the best things about my apartment is that the bedroom is adjacent only to my upstairs and downstairs neighbor; only two potential sources of irritation.
posted by Eideteker 29 June | 14:22
We only have one adjacent neighbor- these folks! I like the party idea :D
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 14:26
I know many would have problems liking them, but I quite enjoy sleeping with earplugs now.
posted by Ardiril 29 June | 15:14
Maybe I'll have Marc put his collar on before we knock on the door? ;)

This actually seems like a great idea!

I quite enjoy sleeping with earplugs now.

For me, earplugs did nothing to diminish the effects of a neighbor's sub-woofer because I was feeling its vibrations as well as hearing it.
posted by Elsa 29 June | 15:19
Deliver the note. Make cookie dough; store in fridge. The next night that you are undisturbed, deliver cookies with another note. "Thanks so much."
posted by theora55 29 June | 18:25
Totally quiet all night next door. Maybe last night was an anomaly? Here's hoping :D
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 21:48
Don't jinx it!
posted by amro 29 June | 21:49
::knocked on wood::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 22:00
I sleep with earplugs because the wife snores like a chainsaw cutting corrugated steel. Yet the hum of the AC comes through muted (I don't mind, it's soothing). As well the neighbor's crappy truck is clear every morning at 5:00 AM exactly. So, yeah, foam earplugs will not stop bass. OTOH I believe silicone plugs do a better job on lower registers, but are not as comfortable overnight. YMMV.
posted by Splunge 30 June | 08:37
We only have one adjacent neighbor- these folks! I like the party idea :D

No one upstairs or below? o_O
posted by Eideteker 30 June | 09:34
In our new apartment, we're going to be the upstairs neighbors in a two-unit building. So unless one of us decides to get Dance Dance Revolution or we throw an epic Rock Band party, I don't think (I hope) that we'll be the kind of neighbors that people write notes about.

I totally agree with having you and Marc go over and introduce yourself (it's a polite thing to do). I know that a week or two before we move into the new apartment, I'm think I'm going to mail a letter to the neighbors below and introduce ourselves and let them know in advance when we're going to be moving in, etc.
posted by TrishaLynn 30 June | 14:04
Notes never have the impact a first meeting makes, you always know something is up because why else would you be meeting the neighbors in the Northeast? You don't have earthquakes to get you out meeting the neighbors or odd social conventions.
Found dog poo in the yard today because one of the cats found it. Do I accuse the pooper or no? Dog next door likes to run across the yard at the cats. The only interaction with them is a wave I forced the wife into reciprocation for by yelling across the yard. Damn dog likes to chase the cats. The other neighbor plays buttrock so I can't enjoy the outdoors and shot one of the cats with a bb gun. Not a fan of the neighbors but we live together.
posted by ethylene 30 June | 19:36
Points! || Midweek 3-point update