One of the greatest cons (but also pros) of New York City living — and by “pro” we mean fodder with which you may populate your upcoming memoir-disguised-as-fiction — is a proximity to neighbors unheard of in lands just slightly west of our own. That’s why you know the status of your neighbor’s bronchial condition down to the minute, as well as how good their pot is, what obnoxious shows they prefer on TV, and how much “action” they get. It’s also why, when someone smokes, it wafts through the walls ghostlike, ephemeral, ending up in your smoke-free apartment for a few minutes in which to make you very angry.
You thought this was just a price of living in the city. Ah, but there is, apparently, recourse. On the Upper East Side, one man named Harry Lysons has been sued by his neighbors for $2 million over complaints that he was filling their apartment with “foul and noxious odors.” The New York Post reports that the parties have agreed to drop the $2 million suit; instead, Lysons will pay Russell and Amanda Poses $2,000 every time smoke from his cigar ends up in their apartment, with an extra charge of $1,500 if he doesn’t pay in 15 days.
Lysons’s lawyer says this is a cinch — Lysons will just smoke elsewhere, so there won’t be any charges at all. Lysons sounds like a fun guy.
“He’s still going to continue to enjoy his cigars and brandy, just not in the apartment,” John Churneftsky [the Poses’ lawyer] said.
But not at the beaches, parks, or office buildings, or in the majority of restaurants or bars…. The street, however, where the smell of his cigars can waft into someone else‘s window, is fair game. So far.
Of course, we were wondering…what if the Poses continue to smell smoke? What if it’s not from Lysons at all? There is a smell test. Yes.
Under the terms of the court-approved deal, Lysons’ apartment will have to pass a smell test if the Poses say there’s the scent of smoke in their two-bedroom condo.
“Each party hereto shall afford the other party access to their apartment, upon reasonable notice for the purpose of verifying that the plaintiffs’ apartment smells from cigar smoke which emanated from defendants’ smoking cigars in the prohibited areas,” the settlement says.
Seems like there’s a lot that could go wrong, here, not least because any smell test requires an impartial bystander with a really good nose. We hear those types can make a lot of money in New York City. Also, Lysons: Invest in some potpourri.
Big-$tink stogie [NYP]