Apartment Party Hosting: Do's and Don'ts
Top 5 Tips for Hosting a Party in Your Apartment (without annoying your neighbors)
First, keep in mind there are two different types of apartment parties. Small gatherings of friends and relatives that may occasionally get a little loud with laughter and talking, and a TV or stereo as background noise are one thing. Large parties with loud music are another, and are primarily what we are referring to here.
- Know your building, know your neighbors. Is your building filled with lots of young single people? Are there frequent parties throughout the building? You are less likely to have problems if parties are a normal part of your building. Do your neighbors have kids? If so, having a party on a school night will probably not go over very well if it keeps the kids from falling asleep next door. The same if you know that your neighbor works early on a Saturday... Friday night parties may not be the best idea for keeping the peace. Also, some buildings may frown on throwing an apartment party altogether, unless they are low-key affairs. Some may even have rules about such... check your lease, or a list of building policies. While the occasional party may be tolerated, if you move into a quiet building, and suddenly every Friday night there is booming bass emanating from your apartment, don't be surprised when you get a knock on your door. Ask questions before you move into the building (although, keep in mind some landlords may downplay what goes on in the building), and wait a month or so to get a feel for how your building handles these situations.
- Beware "party creep." No, we don't mean the creepy guy who shows up uninvited. You know the drill: more people show than you were expecting. Friends bring friends. All of a sudden, your apartment party is now a hallway party. Don't let the party spill outside your apartment. Maybe that was acceptable during your college years, when your building was all college students. But once you leave college for the "outside world," you'll find that is almost always a recipe for trouble and complaints. As the host, it's your responsibility to keep people inside your apartment... the common areas are not acceptable places for your guests to congregate. The same thing goes for balconies. A lot of noise will carry from people on your balcony. When people go outside for fresh air, keep an eye on them that they don't get too noisy. And, especially in NYC, there is also the danger of people falling from great heights, and you most certainly don't want that.
- Consider inviting your neighbors. Obviously, if you're having a few friends over for a birthday party or holiday dinner, this isn't appropriate. But if you're having a more general apartment party, inviting the immediate neighbors does two things, even if they don't attend: 1.) it gives them notice in advance that you're having a party (maybe they'll make plans to go out that night if they're bothered by the noise), and 2.) they are less likely to feel contempt towards something that they were invited to, and may appreciate the gesture.
- Don't play the music too loud and test your neighbors patience. You know how thick or thin your walls are, and how sound travels from your upstairs/downstairs neighbors. If you live in a building that carries sound easily, keep the volume at a respectable level. Don't crank it loud and wait for the neighbors to come knocking before turning it down... their first reaction may not be to call you, but call management, or the police. To minimize noise, you can also place carpeting remnants under your speakers, to help absorb some of the sound from traveling through the floors. You can also slide panels behind the speakers to dampen the sound traveling through the walls. Thick pieces of cork can work as soundproofing, as well as those ceiling tiles used in drop ceilings. Also, some neighbors are more tolerant that others, and may not complain about the occasional apartment party, or the first time it happens. But repeated parties, especially on a regular basis, may push them to complain... and at that point they will be more upset than during the first occurence.
- Don't ignore complaints or let them escalate. Most of the time, your neighbors aren't looking for a fight (OK, some of you probably have a cranky neighbor just looking for something to be mad about, but thankfully they are few and far between). Listen to their complaints, and offer to work out a compromise. They probably won't be unreasonable, and it will help you when planning your next party. Remember, they're not looking to fight, they're looking for a solution to the problem.
Follow these tips, and you will find that any problems you have with your apartment party will be minimal. Except, perhaps, when to have your next one!
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