Friday, January 26, 2007

Chime Update

The mystery lingers.

Stephanie called me back this morning and I missed the call, but she did leave me the following message:

Hey Bill, this is Steph, your next door neighbor. Sorry it took me a little while to return your call. I'm sorry, I don't have your wind chimes. In fact I just assumed you guys had taken it down for a while because I haven't heard it for quite some time. Yeah, it was kind of an issue actually, but I don't have it, sorry. I guess you're gonna have to get a new one. It's been really windy so, I mean, who knows? Anyway, when you do get a new one, if it is really windy like it has been, I'd really appreciate it if you could, you know, remember to take it down because it does actually keep me up at night. My window or my bedroom is right outside of, you know, where you hang it and it does become pretty annoying. But I'm sorry I don't have it. Hopefully, I don't know, maybe if you like check downstairs or something it may have fallen or broken or something. Anyway, give me a call back if you still need to discuss it. You have my home number and, anyway, I hope it all works out and sorry and take care. Bye.

That's the message, verbatim. I removed all the "uhs" and "ums" and of course, you can't hear the stresses on words that she uses that makes her sound like she's not trying to sound annoyed, but isn't really succeeding.

So the mystery continues. Did I take them down myself and stow them somewhere in the apartment and just forget that I did so? It's possible, I guess, and more likely than the Renegade Squirrel Theory.

Unfortunately, by my own stupidity, I have opened Pandora's Box in that, now that I have documented a sort of complaint, if the chimes do show up, there is a basis for a good old-fashioned New York City neighbor dispute. We just loved those chimes.

Check this out:

No Music to Their Ears Question: The tenant below us has installed chimes on his terrace and when the wind hits the chimes they clink relentlessly. The only way my wife and I can ''turn off'' the noise is to close our windows and leave our terrace. We have asked him to remove them but he has refused. The building's management says there is nothing they can do? Is that true? .H. W., Manhattan Answer: Yes. According to Andrew McCarthy, a spokesman for the city's Department of Environmental Protection, the Noise Code does not include wind chimes as a source of noise or public disturbance.

''If the neighbor were running construction equipment or a printing press it would be a different matter and we could intercede,'' he said. ''But even though they might not like the sound of wind chimes they are not being prevented from using their balcony. This issue would have to be resolved neighbor to neighbor. We cannot go in and remove them.''

That's from the New York Times "Q & A" section, from the October 11, 1987 archives.

There have been revisions to the Noise Code, once in 1998 and attempts during the Bloomberg Administration in 2004, as well.

Wind chimes do not appear in either of these revisions, although Bloomberg applied the "reasonable person" standard. What this means is that the noise created by the chimes would disturb a "reasonable person". For example, if I kept a Howler Monkey (like the one pictured above) on my balcony, that might be disturbing to a reasonable person.

The most disturbing thing about the chimes, apparently, is that they work. They make a sound when the wind blows. Go figure.

1 comment:

Seth said...

Have you thought about getting a Howler Monkey? They aren't the chimes, and Steph may accept the chimes if the alternative is a monkey. Furthermore, the neighbor downstairs may be more willing to remove his annoying chimes if it means you removing your annoying monkey. . . . Although, there are probably some city ordinances about monkeys. But, you can get around that with a simple bribe, or the 'I was trying to prove a point' defense.