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Riverwest Speaks: Summertime and the Livin’ is NOISY

by Tess Reiss

At long last, summer’s finally here. You throw open the windows, take in a big deep breath, the house fills with fresh air, and then much to your dismay, in wafts a jangle of urban noise. The buzzing lawnmower early in the morning, firecrackers late at night, dogs yapping and barking, even the unexpected burst of gunshots from time to time. Mix in a generous helping of arguing neighbors, honking car horns, boom box cars, late night house parties, or the throbbing beat from the corner bar and we may find ourselves longing for winter and the relative peace that shuttered windows provide. What to do? The obvious of course is to respect your neighbors. Turn it down or turn it off early in the morning (before 10 a.m.) or late at night (after 9 p.m.) when people may be in bed. And when noisy neighbors strike, be prepared to strike back VERY POLITELY. Calmly and politely, ask your neighbor to turn it down, turn it off, stop, whatever. Yelling at the offender is a sure guarantee that the noise continues, only now with added vengeance. Politeness is the operating factor that garners cooperation. Plead a headache or a colicky baby. Remember to say thank you. Got neighbors who can’t, won’t, or don’t care? Landlords are subject to citations after two or more noise violations by their tenants. Call the landlord – often they are not aware of their tenants’ antics – and politely give them the facts of the matter (date, time, place, etc.). Call the police. They can issue a citation for excessive noise provided you’re willing to be a complaining witness and appear in Municipal Court, if necessary, should the offender decide to contest it. If all else fails, try giving this article to the offender – including horn honkers – either hand delivered (politely, of course) or anonymously in the mail. Mail it to the homeowners and/or landlords on your block and ask them to share it with their tenants. Savvy urban inhabitants know that through garnering the support of their neighbors that a community standard of quiet can be maintained and the will to peace prevail on the block. Imagine. It’s Sunday morning, cup of tea, morning paper, birds chirping. Ah, Summertime and the living’ is easy…and sooooo QUIET. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 6 – July 2002