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Friday, May 30, 2008

Drumming in Park Bugs Neighbors

posted by on May 30 at 14:25 PM

Posted by news intern Chris Kissel

By now, those living along the perimeter of Cal Anderson Park have probably come to accept late-night noise as a fact of life. After all, the park is two blocks from the bar-filled Pike/Pine area, hangout of Seattle’s most rollicking hipsters. What they haven’t gotten used to, some neighbors say, is the loud drumming emanating from the park.

Apparently, this particular kind of noise has been coming from the park for a while, at least according to the neighbors I talked to. Strange noises, including those produced by drums, have been an issue since the park was renovated in 2006, I was told by an elderly couple living adjacent to the park. According to records compiled by the Seattle Police Department (and used, in part, as justification for placing four surveillance cameras around the park), Cal Anderson was the source of 514 calls to SPD for “premise checks” in 2007, and 40 public-disturbance calls. The report gives no indication of how many of the disturbances were drum-related.

One neighbor said she’d heard about the noise, but recommended I talk to neighbors living on the other side of the park. “Go talk to the carpenter,” she said. “He hears everything.”

“The carpenter” is Mitch Allen, whose work-in-progress home faces the playground portion of the park. He said noise always keeps him up, but that drumming hasn’t been an issue in the last year or so. That is, until a couple of weeks ago, when two drummers and a dance crew showed up on a Sunday morning.

Allen said the two drummers were “of African descent” and that their drumming skills were “great.” Allen’s wife, who he says “doesn’t know the difference between music and noise,” wasn’t so receptive. “We walked over there, but it bothered my wife so much she had tears in her eyes.” Allen got ahold of Royal Alley-Barnes at the Seattle Parks Department, which, Allen said, is working on an “anti-drumming ordinance.”

Alley-Barnes didn’t return a call, but Parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter said the issue is being addressed by her department and that Alley-Barnes plans to confront the drummers about the noise. “We want to be a good neighbor, so we’re going to ask them that they moderate themselves,” said Potter, adding that the drumming is taking place within park hours.

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Drumming in park fucking bugs everyone. It seriously makes me contemplate hippiecide.

Posted by demo kid | May 30, 2008 2:33 PM

I can't take seriously any person who claims that there's a difference between drumming and noise.

Posted by mattymatt | May 30, 2008 2:38 PM

Um, if you MUST drum, perhaps not on a Sunday morning in a park closely surrounded by residences? That's not how to make friends and influence people (unless you're planning on influencing them to call the cops and file noise complaints).

Posted by Jessica | May 30, 2008 2:38 PM

So cameras are ok, drumming not so much. You live in a city! Noise is part of life. Get a hobbie or something. sheesh.And you never know, those drummers might be packing!

Posted by nimbyhater | May 30, 2008 2:42 PM
“The carpenter” is Mitch Allen, whose work-in-progress home faces the playground portion of the park. He said noise always keeps him up, but that drumming hasn’t been an issue in the last year or so.

Well, that dude's fucking construction noise bugs the HELLS out of me. Sumbitch was hammering away yesterday evening, as a matter of fact -- well after 5:00, even.

One would've thought that one could drop by the park to escape this city's omnipresent construction racket. But it's alas not the case.

At least not at this park.

Posted by shitbrain | May 30, 2008 2:45 PM

A little 'no drumming' rule here and a little 'no plastinated human remains' there. Eh...who cares!

Keep blinding people with minutiae and no one will notice the erosion of other rights. Really, no one will know….

Posted by Zoesanne | May 30, 2008 2:54 PM

bad architecture isn't nimby but this is?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 30, 2008 2:55 PM

personally i really appreciate the drumming. it reminds me of nice weather and good vibes. if she doesn't like it she should move somewhere quiet and predictable like the suburbs.

Posted by tiffany | May 30, 2008 2:58 PM

being against bad architecture isn't nimby but being against drumming is?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 30, 2008 2:59 PM

Ugh! Will somebody please fire Savage and hire Kissel instead? This is one of the best written articles I've read on Slog.

Posted by alien | May 30, 2008 3:07 PM

I love the sound of breaking glass, especially when it's caused by the impact of a freshly killed hackeysack zombie drumdude being thrown into the biggest window of a badly architectured Capitol Hill condo--like, for example, Brix.

Posted by Nick "Well Hung" Lowe | May 30, 2008 3:07 PM

If I lived next door, Cal Anderson would definitely be soaked in the vile, smelly blood of hippies as both they and their drums totally SUCK!

But one thing about this story that doesn't suck (or presumably, smell): The name "Royal Alley-Barnes".

I SO wish my parents had thought to bless me with such an amazing and poetic name, and I can only hope that I will think of a name so amazingly bitchin for my own children, should I choose to breed.

Posted by Queen_of_Sleaze | May 30, 2008 3:08 PM

I agree with Jessica. Sunday morning. Wake n' Bake. Quiet time. Coffee. Calmness. Drumming does not jibe with that vibe. What's wrong with coming out at, say, 1PM? That's when I'm gone on my bike ride, anyways.

Posted by P to the J | May 30, 2008 3:08 PM

I'd rather take drumming and not the ear splitting city wide noise pollution of all the neo suburbia under the pretense of density going on. NY is quieter as far as that goes.

Posted by orangekrush | May 30, 2008 3:09 PM

The carpenter should hire that guy who shot up the drum circle / hippies at folk life to "take care of the problem".

Posted by john cocktosin | May 30, 2008 3:19 PM

if it bothered his wife so much "she had tears in her eyes" then she probably has an undiagnosed mental illness.

so she sends her husband, who has no real complaint, to bitch about it. i had neighbors just like that.

Posted by brett | May 30, 2008 3:20 PM

Carpenter dude's wife thinks she has it bad now--wait until the goddamn bass solo starts...

Posted by Tiktok | May 30, 2008 3:31 PM

People who live near parks need to learn to close their windows.

Or take up drumming.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 3:50 PM

I like how all these newly-minted urbanites have this idea that "it's a city, it's supposed to be noisy" means you can do anything you want without regard to anyone else. No, you CAN'T do anything you want, and if what you want is playing your fucking drums in a neighborhood park, you should have your hands broken.

Posted by Fnarf | May 30, 2008 4:02 PM

this city is so fucked. Its a park not your living room. if you can't stand the sounds move to another fucking neighborhood you fucking nazi son of a bitch!

Posted by bang | May 30, 2008 4:20 PM

Fnarf has it. While my apartment building's quiet hours are 9pm-9am, does that mean that at 9:15am on a Sunday morning I should listen to Cannnibal Corpse with the volume at 11? No. Drumming is one of those sounds that penetrates walls and is historically designed to travel long distances, from what I understand. Maybe we could round up a pack of drummers to go drum in the parks or driveways of everyone's neighborhoods and see if they still say "just close a window".

Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.

Posted by Jessica | May 30, 2008 4:21 PM

@19 - Or at least pistol whipped.

Posted by Mahtli69 | May 30, 2008 4:23 PM

Let me just say one thing... Jessica and fnarf, it does however mean you can. In all honesty, if you don't like the noises created in a specific neighborhood, particularly one with a park, then don't live in that neighborhood. Community space is available to everyone. that means if you want to go out there and tell everyone around how that guy shouldn't be drumming, you have that right, but he also has the right to continue drumming.

Posted by bang | May 30, 2008 4:25 PM

now the cops can use those decibel meters on both the nightclubs AND the parks! hooray!

Posted by kinkos | May 30, 2008 4:30 PM

how many of you think that these home owners are wrong but stopping a building from going up because it is boring is right?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 30, 2008 4:57 PM

I used to work in the Hugo House when it was New City Theater, in a office facing the park. As soon as the weather turned warm, there would be some drummer dude magically appearing each morning. I consider it a sing of changing season, same as the ducks returning to swim in the fountain (then the reservoir). This was over a decade ago, so it's not a new phenomenon, and while I can appreciate that it's annoying to hear that all the time if you live there - well, it's a PARK. Doesn't mean people can make any noise they want 24/7 but drumming suring the day doesn't seem unreasonable for a park.

OTOH, someone in the middle of house construction that certainly affects their neighbors complaining about public noise is a bit rich.

OTT, but a month or so ago, I saw a guy playing a sitar in Cal Anderson Park. Who has a freaking sitar, and of those who do, who hauls it to a park? That thing was huge!

Posted by genevieve | May 30, 2008 4:58 PM

People who regularly live in cities, whose ancestors lived in cities, know perfectly well how to behave in one. Americans, with their love for suburbia, assume that if you live in a city, you have to put up with tons of bullshit. Not so. Go to a real city, like in Europe, and try playing some fucking drums. You will not be well received. Yes, it's a public space and people deserve not to be disturbed by others' behavior and bullshit in that public space.

It's no wonder with you knuckleheads' attitude that most Americans are terrified of giving up their cars and moving to the city.

Posted by keshmeshi | May 30, 2008 5:16 PM

Our news intern should join the drummers in the park.

And set fire to a Hybrid Hummer (mpg ... still way too frickin low).

To keep warm ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 5:37 PM

@25 - well, if they were 40 to 100 story mixed-income residential rental apartment buildings near the parks ... um, I don't know, so long as they had drum circles on the roof ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 5:40 PM

Living in a loud, urban area doesn't mean you can make whatever noise you want. It's exactly the opposite. The closer your neighborers, the smaller the splash you need to make.

Also, fuck drumming. Fuck bongos, and fuck the idiots who play them in the park. Get a practice space like ever other musician has to. Or go back to playing hacky sack, you can do that quietly in the park all night long if you like.

Posted by Dougsf | May 30, 2008 5:49 PM

I walked by the drumming two Sundays ago. It was some kind of African dance inspired aerobics class. I think there were two guys drumming, one guy leading the class and about 30 people following his moves.

Posted by danny | May 30, 2008 6:46 PM

I once heard a bagpiper in Cal Anderson Park one Sunday morning a few years ago. I wonder if his next of kin was notified of the location of his remains...

Posted by RainMan | May 30, 2008 8:46 PM

Persoanlly, I like my drumming to be balanced by some interminable car alarm. This makes for a sweet Sunday morning serenade.

Posted by homage to me | May 31, 2008 7:59 AM

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