Cock of the Walk

What Mr. Rooster said to Mrs. Hen and then there was talk of an egg

 LOCATION Greenpoint
RENT $930 [no lease]
SQUARE FEET 334 [one-bedroom in tenement]
OCCUPANT Kimberly Lane [property controller, Christie's]

This rooster business . . . I moved into this apartment in February. At first I was a little hesitant. It was the first time I'd lived alone. The first night, I go to bed, I freak. There was this sound . . .

Wait, I just heard a sound . . . That's different, the people downstairs have a, I don't know what it is.

Kimberly Lane
photo: Drew Tillman
Kimberly Lane

It's whimpering. Anyway, it was 4:30 in the morning. I can't even describe it, like a loud animal. Oh my god, what's that noise? Then it was like—OK, I have a rooster in the backyard. I didn't think anything of it. The next night and the next, it kept waking me. So then I tried to file a complaint with the city to get the rooster removed. It belongs to the man in the next building. I asked the guy [in the apartment] next to me. He's an architect. I saw him at the Pencil Factory. I said, What's going on with the rooster. [Regis and Kelly are on the television in the background.] He said, What rooster? His apartment faces the front so I guess he didn't hear. So then I tried to file a complaint, I think it was with Animal Care and Control. I called ASPCA also. I went back and forth. They said, We don't do it, we don't do it. Whoever said I needed to know the name of the owner of the pet. The first step is that they send a letter. I had to first see if his name was on the mailbox—no.

The mailboxes are a little informal in this row of buildings. The front door's open. It always is. I called the community board. They had a list of everybody in all the buildings. I got the name of the person on the first floor. I called back. They said, OK, we're going to send out a letter.

Did anything happen? No. I finally got used to the rooster and started sleeping through.

The woman on TV is talking about how she had a guinea pig as a pet. I just heard more whimpering downstairs. Last spring, then summer, the rooster would start going off later and later. When I first moved in, it was four, 4:30 in the morning. Now he goes off at 6:30.

The time's changing. He'll be on his early schedule again. Yeah.

Then you said for a few months, you didn't hear him. Yeah, I thought my problem was solved. I was calling everyone, my parents: Oh, the rooster's gone. Everyone was, like, Oh, what happened? Everyone was, like, Maybe he raises it for cockfights, uses it for voodoo.

What's that sound? That's the clucking, hens and stuff.

Hens too? Hens sound like they're laughing. I feel like I'm in some children's story but an urban one. Hello, Mr. Rooster. Well hello there, Mrs. Hen. Did you lay an egg? No, not yet, Mr. Rooster. Here's hoping. Cluck, cluck, good luck. And so forth. Then later in the book one or the other would feel excluded and there would be class distinctions but in the end they would realize that all that mattered in life was being a good hen and/or rooster. [We look out the window.] There's the rooster, black with a red crown. It's such a mess down there, all the garbage. There's the hen. There's another bird. It looks like a partridge. Is that a rabbit sitting on top of the garbage? He has a brown bunny and a black one. Oh, there's a black-and-white bunny. I have friends who stay over. They hear the noise. I say, Oh, it's just my rooster, don't mind.

Who's your landlord? He's Polish. He lives in New Jersey.

Why don't you have a lease? When I asked for a lease, he said, Do you have one? I said, No, don't you?


schlesinger@villagevoice.com

 
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