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Turning Off a Neighbor’s Radio | Part 2

RadiosScott Lynch

The conclusion of Brendan Bernhard’s quest to address one of the banes of New York City apartment living: a neighbor’s noisy radio.

The landing was a long, very narrow rectangle of peeling linoleum, about four feet wide, with a continuation of the staircase in the middle of it leading up to the roof, as well as a window that let in some much-needed sunshine. The radio was coming from my right. Two grim apartment doors faced each other at one end of the corridor, painted that soul-destroying brown so cherished by New York landlords. It was obvious which apartment the radio was in and I started banging on the door right away. No answer. I banged some more. Nothing. So I tried the door opposite, hoping to find a sympathetic neighbor trembling on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Again nothing. Was everyone dead?
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Turning Off a Neighbor’s Radio | Part 1

Philip Kalantzis Cope

It had been going on for months. At 6 a.m., every morning without fail, the Day of Rest included, we would be awoken by the morning’s news as presented by WABC at a volume that would stun a rock star. News, weather, traffic, sports, commercials. News, weather, traffic, sports, commercials. News, weather, traffic, sports, commercials…. And then, after about an hour, a silence so deep it was like being parachuted into a desert. The radio had been turned off. After that, it would return (at the same blistering volume) sporadically throughout the day.

Our bedroom, which is small, gives out onto an air shaft. My wife and I usually sleep with the window open, even if just a crack, to let in some air. It’s the original tenement window, and the glass is about as noise-resistant as a few sheets of newspaper. But even if we had one of those titanically thick, gas-filled windows they use in airport hotels so conveniently located they’re practically on the runway, nothing would have been enough to keep out the din of that radio.

But where was it coming from? It took a long time to discover. Our apartment overlooks a dank courtyard, and noise bounces around maddeningly. Once, in the middle of the night, I heard a woman’s voice — one of those brassy New York voices you hear less and less frequently — call out, I know you’re looking at me, you pervert! But there was no clue to what building she was in, let alone the location of her hapless peeping tom.
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