Next-Door Nightmare: Brangelina Sex
Twenty hours, after all, is an eternity to an apartment dweller subjected to the mating cries of a neighbor.
Worse, say afflicted residents, sexual sound effects loud enough to travel often translate as more anguished than erotic.
"It sounds as though they may be hurt or screaming out of physical pain," one Manhattan property manager told BrickUnderground.com, a New York City apartment-dweller website.
Whether the commotion is nasty or nice, neighbors troubled by nocturnal emissions shouldn't run straight to management (or call 911, or make prank phone calls to disrupt the rhythm, or even shout "Encore!")."It's like any other noise dispute," says Elena Bayrock Sapora, the director of the Safe Horizon Manhattan Mediation Center, which mediates squabbles between New York City neighbors for free: She recommends swallowing any squeamishness and approaching neighbors in person or in a carefully worded note.
"Don't jump to an accusation of sex as the cause of the disturbance," she suggests. "Just say, 'You know, I hear loud noises and they're really disturbing my sleep.' The trick is to boil your conversation down to the effect it's having on your life."
Some apartment dwellers reach a quiet middle ground by shifting bedroom furniture or investing in ear plugs and white noise machines.
Other solutions are more specific.
"We dealt with a situation where the woman downstairs complained about the man upstairs having sex with many different partners in all areas of the apartment," recalls Sapora. "The result of the mediation was that he agreed he would have sex in the bathtub."
Of course, not everyone can be persuaded to dial it down. And in some cases, complaints can climax in an eviction proceeding.
"Our firm was successful in evicting a rent stabilized couple, based upon the testimony of a number of neighbors, as well as audio tapes confirming both the language and decibel level emanating from their apartment while engaged in sexual activity," Manhattan real estate lawyer Eric Goidel told BrickUnderground. "But clearly the most common noise complaints still revolve around pets, televisions, or other audio equipment."
Teri Karush Rogers is the founder & editorial director of BrickUnderground.com, a website for New York City apartment dwellers.