When apartment hunting back in the fall, my fiancé and I fell in love with the neighborhood we currently live in. It’s convenient, it’s quiet, it’s lovely. Most of the apartments were well out of our price range so on a sunny October Saturday, when we stumbled across a newly renovated apartment on the 2nd floor of an adorable walk up at a price we could afford, we were all, YES PLEASE NOW?
We hesitated a little bit because the building shares a wall with a quaint looking old bar that advertises live music.
“How loud is the sound?” we asked the landlord.
“It can float in through the windows in the summer on the weekends,” he admitted. “It’s a little annoying.”
“Hmmmmm,” we thought.
We weighed our options.
Cons: the bar in the summer
Pros: large (by NYC standards) apartment, washer/dryer downstairs (I have never had laundry in my building, ever), newly renovated kitchen, central heat/AC, affordable rent, neighborhood we love…
WE WENT FOR IT, OBVIOUSLY.
And here is where we can all laugh and laugh at how adorable we were to TRUST A NEW YORK CITY LANDLORD! OH! SO CUTE! Also, we were born yesterday!
I have yet to write about it but we moved (or were set to move) in the middle of Hurricane Sandy. Due to the storm, the basement of our new building flooded which fried the boiler which left us without hot water for a bit. This is important to my very thrilling story I am telling you because the bar also flooded and was in a worse state than our building, so they were closed down for nearly a month.
In that time, we unpacked our lives and attempted to settle into our new home.
Then towards the end of November, after pictures were hung on the walls and all the boxes had been emptied, after we had become accustomed to our new little sweet home, the bar opened for business and we heard it: loud, thumping bass coming from next door.
“Is that…?” asked my fiancé.
“IS THIS HAPPENING?” I screamed at no one.
We called 311 to file a noise complaint.
We walked next door to see if the bar could turn down the music because, let me also say it was a Monday night at 11:30.
The bartender blinked and responded “Uh, it’s live music. Also, this is a bar.”
THANK YOU, SIR!
You can rinse and repeat this scenario for most Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings from November-present moment.
A few times, I was met with warm reception from a female bartender who immediately adjusted the volume level and allowed me to get some sleep.
Usually though, we were met with the male bartender who repeated his mantra, “It’s a bar.”
And blamed us for living next door.
Om, shanti, my friend! xoxoxo~*~*~*~*~*laura~*~*~*~*xoxoxo
Bar patrons also loved when me or my fiancé showed up in our pajamas begging them to turn down the music. (Which, admittedly, if I were drunk, I would also probably find hilarious.) More than once, a random drunk dude would offer their opinion.
“WHO MOVES NEXTTOABAR ANAWAH?” they would slur.
This is probably one of the worst ways to respond to a person in crisis, in case you were wondering. What you want to do when someone stays up all night listening to a Brazilian jazz flutest next door and then has to drag their ass to work the next day, is to shame them for moving there in the first place, making sure they feel maximum stupidity for trusting the landlord.
Kisses, drunk dude! ENJOY YOUR COORS LIGHT! ~*~*~*~*~**~*~*~XOXO LAURA HERE IS A CLOWN FACE FOR YOU *<:o)
So, you can see we have been living in...less than optimal conditions. My fiancé suffers from insomnia to begin with so this has really helped with that, AND BY HELPED I MEAN NOT AT ALL IN THE SLIGHTEST.
The bar has been unhelpful, the cops sent by 311 have been useless, most likely because the bar IS a very old awesome dive bar and when the cops show up they just order a beer and hang out and ignore the fact that we asked them to PLEASE HELP US TURN THE MUSIC DOWN. We have measured (and recorded) the volume levels in our home when the music is playing. It has reached 90 decibels at its worst. (Legal limit in a residence is 40 so, thank you for breaking the law! We love it!)
The highlight of this experience was one evening when a familiar voice was strumming on a guitar playing songs I knew the words to.
Me: Um. Pretty sure my ex-boyfriend is playing in the bar tonight.
My fiancé: ?????????????
Me: Yeah. That's. Wait. Let me check the schedule on their website. Yes. My ex-boyfriend is playing music in the bar tonight. OMG I LOVE THIS SONG!
My fiancé: The weirdest thing that ever happened is happening right now.
Two weeks ago, after we were kept up on a Saturday night to the thumping beats of a 90's R&B cover band named "No Biggity" (who were, admittedly, REALLY good), we looked at each other and decided we could no longer stay in our apartment and lead healthy lives.
We had reached rock bottom that night, our very lowest point, laying wide awake in bed attempting to suppress our rage when the familiar strains of Lisa Loeb wafted into our bedroom.
"You say," I began to sing along. "I only hear what I--"
"STOP," snapped my fiancé. "DON'T BE A TRAITOR."
It was true. We were past the point of singing along. It was time to move.
To my credit, I only cried one time after we decided the next day to break our lease. The idea of packing and moving and unpacking in a 2 month span is enough to break anyone down. Not to mention, I was already pretty raw living almost daily on interrupted sleep and felt heartbroken considering the fact that my fiancé proposed to me in our apartment and I was already quite attached.
The landlords have not taken kindly to us asking to leave, despite the fact that we have significant proof that the apartment is uninhabitable. So it's been fun to simultaneously be threatened AND get accused of lying! As luck would have it, a friend of mine is renting out his place a few blocks away and though it's smaller and more expensive, we've decided to take it. The movers come tomorrow and just like that, life shifts yet again.
It's been...a little traumatic, to say the least. I've been pretty stressed with my new job and my anxiety has increased like crazy over the past few months due to a lot of life adjustments. Add to that the uncertainty of WHERE ON EARTH IS MY HOME??? and things have been a little rough.
But one of the reasons I am marrying the guy I am marrying is because when tough things come up - hurricanes, anxiety, cover bands playing R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)" - he steps up and he holds my hand and we instantly become a somewhat seamless team.
So every night this week, we've been packing boxes and running them over to the new place in my car. We get take out and we sit among the mess of our soon-to-be old apartment and we tell each other that in a few days, we'll have some peace and quiet and we'll create a new home and everything will be fine.
And it will.
And so, as No Biggity advised a few weeks ago, as our walls shook with every thump of the bass, we are doin' it and doin' it and doin' it well.