About one month ago, a fellow came to our door offering of a bottle of wine. He told us he lived two streets away, and that he and his wife were planning a 40th birthday party at the end of July, and the wine was to thank us in advance for our tolerance of this outdoor event, which would include music.
We were impressed that at least he had the sensitivity to realize that this would be an intrusion. So when the big day came, we made arrangements to have dinner out and then to be indoors with our windows closed, the A/C running and TV on.
How naïve we were.
The amplified music began at 4 p.m., when perhaps the DJ was warming up, and lasted until 3 a.m., for a total of 11 hours. At 9 p.m., a neighbor texted me to ask, sarcastically, if I was “enjoying” the music.
I felt that, given the gesture of the bottle of wine and advance notice, I would be more patient. So it was that at 10 minutes to 1 a.m., with my house shaking and the windows rattling from the powerful thump of the amplified bass of the techno beat, I decided to phone the police.
As soon as I gave the street name, not even the hamlet, the duty officer said, “I’ll send another car over there.” So, clearly, I was on the end of a long list of callers for that party.
By 1:30 a.m., the noise was even louder, and I called again and was given the same response. At 10 minutes to 3 a.m., the party was still at full blast, and I phoned again. I asked why the officers couldn’t stay at the location until the music was turned off. He told me the police have no authority to do that.
“Isn’t this illegal?” And here’s the amazing part. He said, “Yes, but we can’t prove it, because our officers do not have decibel meters. That is the job of the Southampton Code Enforcement Department — and they do not have any personnel working tonight. We are as frustrated as you are, and I’d appreciate it if you would contact the town supervisor and tell him to have code enforcement personnel working at night.”
Supervisor Jay Schneiderman: Why are code enforcement officers not deployed overnight, and why are police officers not empowered to enforce the law? If there is a lack of personnel, perhaps those who leave are demoralized by not being able to do their jobs.
Please acknowledge that the increased use and non-enforcement of outdoor amplified music is taking away the peaceful enjoyment of our homes.
Harwood is president of the Bridgehampton Civic Association — Ed.
One fine body…