Firetrucks. Street cleaners. A dude with a drum kit. Church bells. Muffler-less motorcycles. Dogs. Car horns.

This is the symphony of the city. The sound of Columbus Avenue. It’s loud.

When I first moved to the city, the noise drove me crazy. It kept me up, and woke me up once I was asleep. That was a busier neighborhood than I’m in now. Out my window, I could see bar-goers. They often chose my corner to stand on and shout to one another. What fun it would have been to have a bucket full of water balloons always at the ready, but I was too damn tired for shenanigans. I think I spent my first six months in New York in a permanent state of exhaustion.

When the noise would pick up, I’d sandwich my head between pillows and swear to myself I’d buy a white noise machine the next day. Once it got hot, I started sleeping with the fan on, which drowned out a lot of the outside noise.

Then I moved to the Upper East Side in a 21st floor apartment. I never heard anything. It was eerily quiet – except for my obnoxious roommate’s noise.

Now I’m back to the West Side. I’m lucky to have a corner unit with windows on two sides, but that also means noise from two streets again. My building is pretty quiet. I never hear my neighbors – just street noise. Carlos the City Kitty seems to have accepted it, but I know it wakes him up, too. Someone practices the drums for a few minutes between 10 and 10:45 every night. But only for a few minutes, like one song. It’s weird.

Every time I leave the city, I notice the profound lack of noise.

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