As one who somehow found, liked, bid on, put an application on, was accepted for, and.... gulp.... bought..... a co-op in the East Village recently, I find myself and my purchase treated with a mixture of elation, envy, and even hostility one would assume reserved for lottery winners.
Truth be told, I fell under the lottery-winner spell myself... so much so I overlooked one teensy drawback to my apartment: the floorplan is backwards. The living room is bright but not brilliantly so, while the bedroom, which faces south and overlooks E 4th, is.
Light... and noise.
Oh sweet Jesus it's loud. Brutally, punishingly loud. I am convinced - I do not exaggerate - that E. 4th, in the heart of the village, is louder on weekend nights than Times Square. I tried to bond with the noise, to become one with the sweaty, teeming life carried into my bedroom with every drunken howl. Good for another three days. After that, increasingly violent revenge fantasies were my bedtime companions. I'm not kidding: acid-filled water balloons. My own private Soprano thugs. That sort of thing.
I vented all this on my real estate agent, even going so far as to ask whether I would be his first client to move twice in two months, and he mentioned two words that changed my life: Cityproof Windows. These folks have one business, and one business only: they custom-make and install windows that mount INSIDE the well in which your apartment windows sit (for those of you from New England, they're sort of like storm windows in reverse: the mount inside, not outside, your existing windows). They do not touch the windows you've already got (great for us owners: no pesky boards to deal with). Their sole purpose is the total annihilation of city noise.
Here's the deal: they come to your house, take measurements, talk options, give you a a few prices. They ain't cheap: for, say, a three-foot by six-foot window, expect to pay eight to eleven hundred bucks.
But oh, the difference. My saleseman arrived, as promised, at eight AM (!), measured the 4X6 window, took a look, and said: sure, we could do the quarter-inch thick, double hung. But to really block out all that noise, he'd go thicker... he quoted me a price for 3/8" glass, looked me in the eye, and said... "but the 1/2 inch is less than a hundred dollars more. Most people who are serious go for the half inch."
Half-inch thick glass? Like the bullet-proof stuff in the oval office? (Standard window glass is 1/8 inch thick. Or less.) I became aroused just thinking about it and signed on immmediately. (I don't remember but I think it was like thirteen hundred bucks, all told, give or take).
Business is good over at Cityproof, and the promised four-week waiting period was actually closer to six. But the window was installed in about two hours, and, as they say in Valley Girl....
Oh. My. God.
Slience. Library quiet. Peaceful sleep. I slide the panels closed and feel like Charlton Heston in Omega Man, cloistering myself from the barbarians below. My favorite part? I bring guy friends in, show 'em the window, and say: "go ahead. Hit it. As hard as you can." All you hear is that dull whack of knuckles hittin' half-inch thick glass.
If you have noise issues (who doesn't?) and can afford it, do it. It'll change your life. They look pretty good, too.