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Etiquette For Ears

When it’s too late to vacuum (and other urban dilemmas).

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Apartment life demands good manners—and time is of the essence when it comes to noise. We asked Elizabeth Howell, of the Emily Post Institute, for some neighborly advice.

ENTERTAINING “During the week, it’s fine till 11 p.m. On weekends, midnight or later. Be considerate of the neighbors—invite them over. If you have a terrace, as long as you’re not having a raucous party, I don’t see why you can’t be out as late as you want. And don’t let your terrace envy interrupt someone else’s good time.”

HOUSEWORK “If you live in a building without a lot of families, you can clean until 10 p.m.—who wants to be vacuuming later than ten? Otherwise, 9 p.m.”

SEX “If your walls are paper-thin, keep it down. But people are going to do what they’re going to do—who says, ‘Gee, it’s four o’clock and if we have really loud sex now, I know that the neighbors won’t hear’? Also, don’t put your headboard on the wall closest to your neighbor.”

NOISY NEIGHBORS “If you’re comfortable confronting them, slip a note under the door or knock and say, ‘I don’t know if you realize this, but we’re early risers, and last night we could hear noise until 2 a.m.’ It’s also okay to talk directly to the management. If it’s a bunch of guys yelling at 3 a.m., would you want to knock on their door? I wouldn’t.”


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