A married couple in Cobble Hill last week learned that they have really shitty neighbors. Just the worst. A group of incredibly classless, dickish, can’t-mind-their-own-business-worth-a-goddamn sort of people complained to Gothamist and then assorted other news outlets that the couple in question had built a “giant glass shower” in full view of the street, even cutting down some trees to make the view a little clearer. The implication was that everyone could see the couple frolicking nude in said shower, which was an issue, as one neighbor put it, because “I wish they were hotter and famous.” The only problem with this story is the part where the shower is still under construction, and no one was ever actually naked in it.
An anonymous neighbor wrote in to Gothamist last week to complain about the shower and the “daring duo” behind it, reporter Jen Carlson wrote, “who are really shaking up the quaint block.” That said, Carlson added, the neighbor “doesn’t really seem to have a problem with the shower,” except of course that the couple, while “not unattractive,” were not sufficiently hot or famous enough for her desired on-the-street voyeurism.
In fact, the neighbor was probably not that upset because the damn shower has never been occupied, a detail that somehow escaped every single outlet that wrote about it: CBS, the New York Observer, the Daily Mail, and Atlantic Wire, just to name a few. (Thank God, we missed out on this round of New York media clusterfuck blogging, freeing me to write this extremely pot/kettle post.)
Really, though: how does this not come up? How is a question about actual, glimpsed nudity not number two or three on the list? Something like, “So, are they in the shower a lot? Do they ever have company?” Even just a simple, straightforward, “Can you see any genitals?” would suffice.
Take this extraordinarily detailed Daily Mail shower profile, who outed the couple by name, printed floor plans of the construction, and took what look like telephoto lens pictures of the shower’s interior. They also mentioned that the wife is an architecture critic who’s written about the accidental voyeurism common in city life, adding, “Now she is putting her own patience for voyeurism to the test after residents on her block started taking a peek for themselves – whenever she takes a shower.”
This is outright, baldfaced, making-stuff-up bullshit, which is followed up by this one-line closing paragraph: “It’s not clear if the owners have moved in yet.” Wait, what? Yet the Mail did manage to go by the house, where they report hearing “a woman’s voice” from behind the door, ushering children away.
Finally, Dan Amira at Daily Intel managed to reach one half of the couple for comment, who wrote back: “I have no comment other than to say that we are flattered and mildly fascinated that our neighbors have taken an interest in a bathroom that has never been used and is still under construction, and can only hope they will be as friendly when installation of the glass privacy coverings are complete.”
Yep, privacy coverings, the kind that obscure one’s fig-leaf areas from the view of your horrendous, shitty, can’t-wait-to-see-you-naked-and-then-insult-you neighbors.
The real question here is not, “Why are these neighbors so awful?”, because that part is probably their parents’ fault. Rather, as reporters, we should all be careful to ask ourselves: “Are we exercising our due diligence when it comes to bullshit, click-bait stories about rich naked folks steaming up the bathroom?”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 21, 2013