Monday, April 20, 2009

Loudmouth Weather

Now that it's really spring, I find myself worrying. Because with spring comes not only the temperate weather, the flowers, the birds, but also the flocks of loudmouths. What was once a pleasant season, something to look forward to after the brutality of winter, has become even more brutal. This weekend, we had our first loudmouth weather.

hotel patio & neighboring windows

In the East Village, it begins as early as the late morning, a giddy murmur rising up from the streets. Laughter that sounds not mirthful but performed, deliberate.

In a few hours, after brunch has been eaten and shopping begins, the air is punctuated by cackles and squeals. Cell phone ring-tones that bleat and trill. High-pitched cellular conversations about herpes infections, girls who announce to the world, "He touched me and was like, Do you like this? And I was like, whatever. So he did it again. Can you believe it?"

Before sundown, the drunken sing-songs begin (favorite tunes: the theme from the Love Boat and songs from Grease--"We go together like rama-lama-ding-dong!"). A pack of men in straw fedoras and women in spiky heels gather in a football huddle to bellow and howl like animals for 10 minutes straight, breaking up only because "Mike's gotta take a piss!"

In the dark, everything gets worse. The whole world roars. Young women scream at the sky just to display their copious lung capacity. Young men raise their voices to falsetto to compete. Hee-haa! They hoot and groan, high-five, dancing circles in their khaki pants, chanting and chest-thumping.

from urban etiquette signs

It didn't used to be this way. In the past few years, the noise has gotten unbearably worse. "Manhattan below 14th St. is, in fact, the most audibly offensive area of the city," reported the Villager in 2005. In 2007, the East Village was ranked the second most complained about neighborhood in town.

The proliferation of bars, the changing population, and the smoking ban have all created a fair-weather nightmare for people in the East Village and Lower East Side. People living above bars can't open their windows. Some residents manage to protest the noise or they make endless, pointless calls to 311. Others, with little recourse, dump urine on the offenders below. Curbed calls it the Noise Wars. With spring's arrival, the wars will begin again.

from urban etiquette signs

Sometimes, retreat is the only way to fight. Instead of enjoying spring's breezes, I lower my windows and turn on fans. I sleep with earplugs. I look forward to the real heat when shut windows and air conditioning will seal me in a white-noise hum. I look forward to winter's chilly muffle.


EV Grieve said...

I was thinking that, perhaps, given the state of the economy, there might be a more subdued nightlife atmosphere in the neighborhood.

Yeah, right. Now, still being employed has seemingly instilled some people with boldness.

And with attention spans limited now to the length of a text message, one person has to be louder than the next. Soon, everyone is screaming. Interesting (and horrifying) to watch a group like this.

Steve Reed said...

It's not much different along Third Avenue in Murray Hill, where I live. I thank god every day that my apartment faces the back of the building.

Barbara L. Hanson said...

God, I miss the dealers. "Mohando, mohando, noBODy come out, noBODy, come out." Beats hell out of all the bellowing plaid-Bermuda-shorts clad fratties and their teetering girlfriends. At least the dealers were invested in keeping the block quiet and safe. Saved me from a mugging more than once.

Bowery Boogie said...

Jeremiah, this is some of your finest. It's tough to imagine what life will be like in those few apartments behind the glass dildo. I'm also curious to see what guerrilla tactics are used to curb the noise..

Anonymous said...

Look, I hate obnoxiously loud people as much as anyone, but you've really turned into the Ebenezer Scrooge of New York. Only someone like that could find a way to complain about good weather. Give it a rest.

Anonymous said...

move to brooklyn?

Anonymous said...

Love this blog. Maybe you or a reader can provide insight into my noise situation. I live on the north side of 5th Street, between A&B, and face the back.

Directly behind our building and small yard is a fanci-fied backyard with a raised wood platform, benches, and a sort of gazebo. This belongs to a building on the south side of 6th St between A&B, in the middle of the block.

There is a party in that outside space all weekend every weekend from very soon now till October. On Saturdays it will start around 10AM, crescendo at 2 AM Sunday, and then a gang of people will fortify the party when the bars close, from about 4:30 to 6. A few drunk people will stay and shout at each other until 7am.

Nobody has that many parties, and it's not a restaurant garden. But there does seem to be professional clean-up, like busboys in the morning. All I can think is that it's either a private club that rents out the space, or a sort of short-term hostel that advertises its party space.

There is no sign or special buzzer on the front of the building. And then I wondered it it were connected somehow to that old bar -- I think it's Joe's, next door. But they don't offer a garden.

Anyhow, this has driven me to tears because I can't relax and enjoy a warm weekend night or the birdsong in the morning. And you're right about the attention-seeking quality of the vocalizing; it's not organic fun, it's like an exhibition of "fun."

I can either blast my air conditioner, which is wasteful and gets cold. Or I can play music of my own, but at a level too loud for comfort before it "wins." Earplugs make me feel cut off and like a prisoner.

Mainly I feel so powerless. Some neighbors scream, and then we have the "F--- you!" "No, F--- you!" wars. I think people have thrown water and eggs. But it never stops and the police don't shut it down, and it's shocking to me that such blatantly selfish, aggressive behavior on the part of one building can ruin three nights a week for an entire block of people.

Does anyone know the story of who's running this thing, what it is, and why they can act with such impunity?


Anonymous said...

Expect an increase in that popular noise-suppression tactic of dumping buckets of water (we hope it's water) on the loud throngs below. Summer splash!

marjorie said...

loved this post -- so lyrical about the doucherie! it was an aural painting. it was as though i was there. oh wait, i AM there.

Jeremiah Moss said...

can anybody help the anon resident of 5th st? sounds like a living hell.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the building with illegal modifications, no?

I think grieve recently had a photo of a notice to tenants to knock off the loud partying.

Anonymous said...

Here is the post on notice to tenants. It includes the management's phone number :)

212 941 9399

Anonymous said...

Also, if you confirm the address of the building, spend some time googling it - look for any ads for services at that address, or blog posts from someone who partied there, or busboy-wanted ads.

Soho resident said...

to e 5th st.
You should do some reconnoissance some night.
Linger by the entrance to the offending building or sit across the street and see what types of partyers are going in and out, look and see what buzzer they are ringing and if you can see into the hall who answers the door.
Then if you get braver you could enter with some of them as if you are going to the same party and then you can find out if someone is charging admission or what not. Be cunning.
Also check to see if there are any phone numbers for the owner or management agency listed in the vestibule and call and ask what they know.
Above all document the noise. Film it, record it, take down times, number of people, etc. Then when you go to the police you have evidence.
Also try your community board.

Ken Mac said...

makes you long for Guiliani's "Quality of Life Initiative."

KnicksBasketballNY said...

And you're right about the attention-seeking quality of the vocalizing; it's not organic fun, it's like an exhibition of "fun."
Sadly, many of the recent transplants feel that this is how one is expected to behave while living in an urban environment.

^ Unfortunately by doing that they succeed only in further lowering the native's already low opinion of them.

By trying too hard to fit in they add further proof to my point that need to GO THE HELL BACK TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM

Anonymous said...

Thanks, all. That information about the vertical addition (which blocks my southern light) to 514-16 E. 6th lets me pinpoint the address of the main party building: it must be 518 E. 6th. There's a new wood deck built behind 514-16 now, too, and there was a 1 pm - 8 pm party out there this past Saturday.

I've often had the fantasy of doing precisely what you suggest, Soho resident. I'm afraid, is all.

But I found this listing -- tiny studio listed as a 1br, and touting the backyard amenity.

And I checked the DOB site. It's got a fairly clean record, and I find no documents with owner's name.

For contrast, I checked 514-16. Mad violations and stop work orders. Nobody lives in the illegal "penthouse," and it would be great if they took it down except for the repeat of the brutal noise they made putting it up.

It's so great there's a forum where people know what I'm talking about. Because on curbed, they're all like "get out of the city if you can't deal with it, bitter rent stabber."

Anonymous said...

I say dont complain. Try growing up on Avenu D with the animals burning cars while their father, ounkles and brothers slapping Dominoes down on a table at 2AM. Someohow this almosty sound like heaven in-comparison!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and also on craigslist, this "mini-one bedroom." Open house tonight. Also touts "garden lounge for you to use this summer."

Maybe it *is* just private parties, with the tenants rotating. And maybe the vacancies in the back are the tenants who don't think it's as fun as it first sounded to have a "garden view."

Anonymous said...

I would suggest google maps but it sounds like you know where it is.
I love the term "douchification".

penetrode said...

I am a transplant and have been living in the lower east side for nearly 3 years now.

The amount of douchbaggery and bad taste that flows through here Wed - Saturday is limitless.

That's why we throw rotten food on people's heads when they won't shut the *uck up

Anonymous said...

Sadly, you are not exaggerating. I just watched a movie somewhat on the topic called Noise, starring Tim Robbins. He gives an inspired performance.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

Whoa, I hadn't noticed those stairs right outside the apartment, that's terrible.

I live above some famously loud restaurants and in the summer, they have an outdoor space in the back, right outside my windows. The only thing keeping us all from killing each other is the fact that the restaurants close at midnight and they actually enforce that time.

Things, however, have gotten out of control in the past. Calling 311 to complain doesn't do any good. I've had to call 911 to summon the police. The times I've called, though, have been when either the employees or customers were gaining access to the building, so I was justified in calling as a tenant.

To the 5th St Person - if those people are serving alcohol, you may be able to get them on that. Good luck.

Mark said...

one of the many reasons I'm leaving the neighborhood after 35 years.

eeps. said...

im not sympathizing with the noisemakers, but i was at loreley on rivington saturday (not by choice), which has an outdoor area in the back. the neighbors in the building threw hot grease down on the patrons. this doesn't seem like the right thing to do, since these people knew what they were getting into when they rented above a biergarten. and the noise isn't the fault of the patrons who happened to get greased; it's the fault of the bar that allows patrons to sit in the back and make limitless noise.

Jeremiah Moss said...

anon on 5th street: just to confirm, is this the garden you're talking about?

thanks to commenters for the links.

Girl said...

The only thing worse than yunnies creating an unbearable racquet are when they're doing so wearing flip-flops, and sadly, I spotted the first pair of the season the other day.

5th street person, formerly anon said...

Yeah, Jeremiah, that's the garden. It looks so peaceful and appealing in the photos!

Bound said...

Jeremiah, I must say that the excellent way you wrote the third, fourth, and sixth paragraphs had me laughing out loud. But I know that dealing with this level of noise on a regular basis isn't funny. This is the chief reason I avoid the East Village on Friday and Saturday nights. The douche-itude of the folks gathered on the sidewalks is maddening!

- Gina Gemini

marjorie said...

i'm a feminist and i say "douchebag"! i completely agree with your assessment about why it's OK. here's an article by (feminist! former NOW employee!) lynn harris on the appeal of douchebag as an insult: (in fact, i'm the marjorie in that piece saying precisely what you said here -- that since douching is a patriarchal conspiracy designed to make women self-conscious and sell them a dangerous product they do not need, calling someone a douche does not insult women, but rather insults douchey marketers.)

5th street person: i'm so sorry. i agree about contacting the community board. and what about asking the East Village Community Coalition ( if they have advice?

Anonymous said...

I still can't agree with the use of "douche" or its variations. I understand its negative connotations of telling women they are not "clean," but I still think it's vulgar and misogynistic. And it doesn't change my mind because some womyn from the National Organization of Women thinks otherwise.

Otherwise, I agree: Get these flip-flop wearing, loudmouthed, disrespectful, world-revolves-around-me people outta here.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm one of those guys you love to hate. I'll be making noise until all hours of the night when this hotel opens, and I won't give a rat's ass about bothering the neighbors. People don't live in the East Village in the hopes of hearing birdsong (which, btw, has to be the gayest comment ever). Mike had it right. He's leaving. And the rest of you should too if you can't take it. See you on the patio in my flip flops this summer!

Harold said...

to anon 11:30am

that leasing guy is Sal

short for Salvatore

probally a made guy from the mob who lit cars on fire when he was a kid while his dad, unkels, brothers played dominoes on D ave

I would move out, if knows you are complaining Sal and his boys may show up at your door or take you out when you are walking down the street and show you what pain and discomfort really are

I have dealt with guys like him in the past, it is a no win, I beat a few of them up and they came back with 50 and put me in the hospital, cops looked the other way.

that is why you have to pay at least 5k a month to get a place in NY without the racket, on the 40th floor without the bs

I feel bad for you but you need to pay more for rent in a better place or deal with it.

or better yet rent that place out, at least you will have peace

just sayin


KnicksBasketballNY said...

Mike had it right. He's leaving. And the rest of you should too if you can't take it. See you on the patio in my flip flops this summer!Hey anonymous... normally I would call you out on that but since this is online and technically not real life I will give you a pass.

Feel free though to mention your comments on here to me in person if you ever see me walking the streets.

I am a tall Puerto Rican who always wears a Knicks jersey along with wheat colored timbs.

We'll See who has the last laugh you douchebag!

Jill said...

Thanksgiving weekend 1986 I was standing on Rivington St at around midnight after a very very very loud show (maybe it was ABC No Rio? not sure). There were about 20 people on the sidewalk, which then was a scary place to be for white people at night. My friend and I were trying to figure out the best way to get out of the neighborhood when beer bottles starting pouring down from above, crashing at our feet. Luckily nobody was directly hit, but it was surely an effective method of emptying the street quickly.

Seems like noise has been irritating people since forever.

Anonymous said...

In the new fancy condo on 11th St bet A&B people paid handsomely for "garden views" to face the El Sol Briliante garden on 12th St, which is indeed very pretty. Not that anybody who lives there would bother getting to know their neighbors and setting foot in the garden. What they do, however, is complain constantly to the police about noise IN THE AFTERNOON from the garden parties and about the stone bbq grill as a fire hazard.

Anonymous said...

And this is why I left my much loved home in the EV after 9 years. I simply COULD NOT tolerate the noise. To those who proclaim Jeremiah an "Ebenezer", or simply don't understand the experience of the nightly assaults on the senses - SHUT UP AND MOVE TO THE Lower East Side, then write your comments.

cat said...

On Property Shark (, it's listed to Gioia Apartments, LLC and also has two names listed. No phone # but you could probably find it. (if it is #518.)

Good luck!

Jeremiah Moss said...

5th between A&B: did this resolve itself or are the parties still going strong?

Unknown said...

What the "just move away" people don't seem to understand is, yes the EV has always been pretty noisy. Heck New York is noisy, and like most NYers I can sleep through a LOT of noise.

This is ABOVE and BEYOND noise. It's like these idiots think they are wandering around Six Flags or something.

Also, I am a feminist and douchification sounds right to me. I don't think of it as anti-female. It's anti-jerkface.

Who douches any more anyway?

bettyx1138 said...

yep. it's starting up again. i live in the east village and i've grown to loathe it. i can't leave cuz i have a cheap apt. these douches give me douche rage. (i just made that term up as i was writing this.)

Anonymous said...

I can't deal with the neighborhood, and I'm not even a resident! I definitely see the change from even 7 or 8 years ago(2004 or so). I used to bring my laptop to work out of a few cafes for a change of scenery. Now, I dread when my friends invite me to a party or dinner in the neighborhood. Just walking through LES/EV Wed-Sat is enough to give me agita.
It really is a shame, I'm older( not in the 20 or 30 yr old demo anymore) and still enjoy going out , culture events , concerts and such.
Unfortunately, it's a change in the whole culture.I go out now and want to slap the hell out of these kids, they are rude as hell, no damn manners, I could go on and on..

ZippyClips said...

I think once you live in a neighborhood for a while a person wouldn't be so loud and inconsiderate. Visitors tend to think of the EV as a designated "party zone" and have a 'disconnect' with neighbors in bed trying to sleep. There used to be a dynamic where newbies adopted to the folkways of the neighborhood. But waves of new arrivals (with partying on their mind) have undermined that process.

Bill said...

Amazing isn't it? The Bowery now looks, sounds and feels like the Sunset Strip in LA.

Anonymous said...

this is world wide. not just NYC. and is not just college kids either. (or the lower classes, whom are not @the clubs/bars in the EV). as we speak i am on the other side of the world & its the same! the changes are amazing & disgusting. this is about peoples behavior. not about yunnie or these stupid idiotic high school words like douche. the people on this blog sound like the noise they complain about! in general its the fault of the mayors, politicans, governers, who have sold out to the commerical industries, developers etc. as i said its world wide. only the very wealthy can choose what happens in their neighborhoods, whether its in NYC or suburbia. theres so many payoffs that noise control, zoning etc are not respected. i suffer w/the exact same problem- kids, families, tourists all ages including retirees, weekend visitors, illegal businesses etc. same screaming, same shrieking cell phones, trash. jeremiah should write an essay (grumbler) on sub human behavior.

laura said...

this is a question for social scientists. what has happend to the human race? i passed thru a mall yesterday: hunrads of people crowded together, blasting music from speakers from above, as well as the different stores had music top volume, blended in. the cells, the screaming children. now this is by CHOICE! this is how thousands of people choose to live. i ran out as fast as i could as i had a panic attack! we are in the minority. face facts.

Anonymous said...

just read this: 83% of people between 18-29 sleep w/their cell phones. just saying.....

Jill said...

Ha ha just clicked here from Facebook and thought this was written today until I saw my comment from then! So in 6 years nothing has changed. I have now left the drama of the nightly noise, about a month into this new adventure. I have such mixed feelings about it. The noise wasn't my primary reason to move, but it was surely a thing that helped me make the decision. I thought I was in a very quiet place until last night, across the street, a party raged on to the wee hours on their front steps. Somehow, knowing that they are the natives and I am the newcomer, it didn't bother me so much. Plus, they weren't dicks, they were just having a party.

Anonymous said...

I can really relate to this re-post. Once again, I had a terrible night last night trying to sleep. The woo-hooers were out in force last night up upper Avenue A. I finally fell asleep around midnight only to be woken up just after 4 a.m. when they were all making their way home. I am wiped out as usual, and I hate that this is what the neighborhood has turned into.