How to deal with noisy neighbors in NYC

After the move - February 4, 2020

Living in NYC can be rather noisy. With the endless construction, the sirens, the bars bustling outside, it can be hard to find a quiet place to unwind. And, the last thing we need is to live in a noisy apartment. Unfortunately, NYC apartments are rarely soundproof. The walls are thin, the floors creak and some of our neighbors can be oblivious to their clanking around. Sometimes our neighbors can be so loud, it feels like we are sleeping in a tent. While it may be tempting to call the police or call 311 to file a noise complaint, there are many creative ways to deal with noisy neighbors and improve your living situation.

How to deal with noisy neighbors in NYC

  1. Talk to them. It may seem obvious, but some of us can feel too shy to approach our neighbors. If it’s the first time you hear them, then maybe let it go. But, if you are frequently bothered by the noise of a specific neighbor, go try and speak to them. If it feels intrusive to knock on their door, try to catch them in the lobby or another communal area, and politely approach them. Befriend them, this way the interaction does not get hostile. You can also tell them that they should feel comfortable to consult you if they feel you are being too loud. Chances are, the sound travels both ways.
  2. Write a letter to your neighbor. If you don’t feel comfortable directly approaching your neighbors, write your neighbors a polite letter explaining that you can hear them through the night and it is disruptive. Often, people are unaware of exactly how sound travels from apartment to apartment, and no one wants to feel uncomfortable in their own home.
  3. Take matters into your own hands. Purchase a noise machine or download an app that has sleeping sounds. Personally, we suggest downloading an app that plays white noise and wearing ear plugs. Some people prefer to sleep with a fan for the noise.
  4. Fixate on something else. It can be easy to obsess over your neighbor’s footsteps and loud music, but you may drive yourself insane doing so. Instead, try and meditate to bring your mind elsewhere. Count sheep or listen to a podcast, and try to distance yourself from the frustration of a noisy neighbor.
  5. Re-orient your room. If you are having trouble sleeping, try moving your furniture around to see if that helps the noise. Move your bed further from the neighbors’ walls and try putting bulky furniture on that side of the room instead.
  6. Live on the top floor. Perhaps this is not currently possible, but on your next move consider viewing apartments on the top floor. That way you can’t have any noisy upstairs neighbors in the future.
  7. Speak to your superintendent. Often, they can figure out creative solutions as they know the building inside and out. Noise can also travel in strange ways. Sometimes noise can travel from apartments that are not immediately adjacent. The super can help you figure out where the noise is coming from.
  8. Sound proof your room. Use bookshelves and curtains and pillows to minimize how sound travels and echoes throughout your space. Get a carpet or a fluffy couch or other pieces of furniture that can help absorb sounds. You can also order foam curtains to hang on your wall. Check out soundproofing solutions on Amazon.

Obviously, having noisy neighbors can be incredibly frustrating. But, don’t let it get to you! Figure out a solution for yourself  — whether it be mental or physical, help yourself construct an oasis in this busy city, and help yourself deal with noisy neighbors in NYC

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