Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Backyard Singer

Whew! I finished painting yesterday afternoon, and the place looks great. My right hand is incredibly sore from holding the roller, but otherwise I seem to have come through unscathed.

While painting, I had an interesting encounter with one of my neighbors. He was out in has back yard, which is just below my window, about 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, singing operatically at the top of his lungs. People shouted at him from the surrounding windows to pipe down, but he ignored them, and sang off and on all day. He was singing again Sunday (”The Impossible Dream,” I think in Spanish) although he started at a later hour.

Finally, Sunday afternoon, I called down to him as he stood in his backyard and asked him nicely to please not sing so loud. He took great offense, telling me that I should ask the birds and trucks to be quiet too, and calling me all sorts of unprintable names. I told him if he kept it up I’d call the cops.

Interestingly, he did stop singing. But yesterday he marched around his yard in a rant, yelling obscenities for at least half an hour. I think he was ranting at being asked to stop singing, though I’m not entirely sure. I filed a noise complaint with the city.

Clearly this guy is not balanced. I’ve seen him on the street and to say he is eccentric would be an understatement. I recognize the need for compassion in such situations, but at the same time, his behavior is unfair to everyone else. And I want him on the police radar.

Am I being unreasonable?

(Photo: Subway graffiti, Bleecker Street)


  1. Unreasonable? YOU? NEVER! :-)

    Seriously, anyone that violates my serenity will feel my wrath. Ain't pretty. Silence IS golden.

  2. Everyone in a city needs to be considerate. Otherwise, city living just doesn't work.

    As I was reading your post, I was wondering, is there such a thing as operatic Tourette syndrome?

  3. Being in close quarters, as most people in NYC are, calls for consideration. It sounds like he could really use an empty acre to relieve some pent-up frustration. My heart goes out to both of you. What do you think the cops would do, other than perhaps to fine him?

  4. B: I'm not sure the cops will do anything. But I think it's important to build up a record of complaints, in case he does get into a serious altercation at some point. Then the cops can go back and see that these issues have been going on for ages.

  5. operatic tourettes, thats funny!

    LOVED the pics of you from yesterdays, just beautiful

  6. congratulations.

    it sounds as if your neighbor is having some sort of 'break' - and has some sort of condition which needs to be calmed.... he possibly poses a great risk to others (and probably himself) and definitely needs to be on someone's radar screen - it is a shame that it's the police we have to call in situations like this and not some sort of emergency mental health worker/professional - we had a very tragic situation a year or possibly two ago in cleveland where a young man, the subject of many neighbor complaints for noisemaking, had a 'break,' got hold of a gun, and killed two of his neighbors...the young man lived with his mother and everyone in the neighborhood knew he was an annoyance and eccentric, but never thought such a thing was possible....be careful...it is important to be compassionate and also there are times when pose a risk and both compassion and control need to be in play....

    best of luck. be safe....

  7. oh I was saying congratulations on finishing the paint job - I'm sure you figured that out....somehow the comment thing is being wonky.... and I actually lost the first comment I tried to post....

  8. i'm all for anyone that wakes up singing, even "The Impossible Dream".
    When I go outside to sing out of key and at the top of my lungs I like to sing "Nature Boy" in Russian.
    but after I get woke up good, I stop.
    Yes, its good to have a record of your complaints so the Cops will have clues when you come up missing.
    This guy is nuts.

  9. Yes, be safe! Singing is one thing, but imposing so insistently is quite another . . .

  10. You don't want to be the guy who didn't get involved. Letting the police know was the right thing to do. He may hurt himself or others.