Sunday, March 6, 2011

Apartment Living: City Soundscape

I'm having a blast in my Baltimore digs and I mean that quite literally.

Unlike other apartments in this large building, mine doesn't face directly onto a major thoroughfare. Still, it's close enough to provide plenty of city sounds. I know from city sounds.

One of my New York City apartments was across from a mob-owned restaurant and next to a honkin' huge house for "wayward women." (Note: this was the most politically correct term at the time.) It was not at all unusual to hear screaming as well as the sound of shattering glass during the night -- even with windows closed. My floor-through apartment (with a skylight and no heat during the winter) was situated between 1st and Avenue A. Need I say more? I probably do because this New York City reference probably means nothing to anyone under the age of 52.

On a recent visit to Gotham, I was horrified to discover the old 'hood had gone completely upscale. The bodega on the corner was now a major minimalist sushi cafe. The restaurant was still there sans wise guys on the curb. The halfway house had been turned into ritzy condos. To make matters more distressing, I felt perfectly safe walking along Avenue A; this scared me.

Back to the current situation in Baltimore...

I quickly learned to keep a stash of earplugs in my bedside table. Lucky me, the unrelenting and high decibel pulse of the entire building's air-conditioner condenser right outside my window. So is the loading dock that moving vans and garbage trucks back into with their piercing backing-up beeps. I also get to hear first responders racing down North Charles. Ambulances. Police cars. Baltimore Fire Department* trucks. Sirens blaring.

Am I complaining? Not really.** I'm happy to be back in a city thrumming with the sounds of lots of life happening. But only during the day. At night, I wedge super-duper plugs into my ears.

Love the sounds. Don't miss the screaming.

* I do so love that the initials are: BFD.
** That's a semi-lie. I hate hearing the condenser and am forever trying to get BGE to do something about the brutal hum of the transformer.


  1. When my parents moved back to Baltimore when I was in college, they moved to a town house in Fell's Point. It was right across the street from the Dead End Saloon (which pretty much summed up the clientele). LOTS of street noise living there but what better place to come home to from college than Fell's Point!?

  2. Things change...some for the good, some for the not-so-good. Happy that you love the city noise, hope there's a chirp or two in the midst of the honkin'


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