The VICE Guide to Right Now

This Wind Chime Is Tearing a Brooklyn Neighborhood Apart

The tree it hangs from became home to what one neighbor called a "wall of passive aggression."
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
May 16, 2017, 8:44pm
Photo via Christine Walczak's Facebook

Brooklyn is home to a hipster dentist, a purveyor of fine hot sauces, an adult preschool, and a parkour training center—businesses that almost certainly die in nearly any other neighborhood in America, but thrive due to the simple fact that Brooklyners care about weird shit. And some of them, apparently, care a whole lot about the noise of a single wind chime—so much so it's sending an entire borough block into total discord.


As DNAInfo reports, Christine Walczak hung a wind chime outside her home in Greenpoint a few weeks back. The 28-year-old strung the instrument to a tree as part of a shrine to her mother, who passed away in October.

"I always told her I wanted to fix up the tree and make it pretty," Walczak told VICE. "So I finally did, and I added the wind chime for her. Every time it would chime, it would be like she was outside saying hello." Sounds pretty uncontroversial, right? Still, it didn't take long before Walczak's neighbors got annoyed with the racket the wind chime was making, and—because this is Brooklyn—stuck a note in her mailbox asking her to take it down.

All photos courtesy of Christine Walczak

Walczak, who couldn't understand why her neighbors didn't just knock on her door to talk about the chime in person, decided to respond by pinning a note of her own to the tree right below their request.

"The wind chime is in memory for my mom," she wrote. "Get over it, you live in NYC!"

Like a lit fuse on a stick of artisanal dynamite, Walczak's letter set off a bitter feud among the residents of Kent Street. Soon flyers popped up all over the tree condemning Walczak's opponents, mourning the death of neighborly courtesy, and praising the wind chime's melodic, warbling tune.

"THE WIND CHIME IS BEAUTIFUL," one neighbor wrote. "GET A LIFE."

Amid calls to take the wind chime down, ardent letters of support, and a suggestion that Walczak could "tie a ribbon around the chimes to dampen them" at night, neighbors planned a protest of solidarity, saying they might hang their own wind chimes in alliance with Walczak.

Then the tree itself found it had a supporter on the street. On Monday, Heather Letzkus tore all the signs from its bole, worried the pins keeping them up might be causing it harm. In place of what she called "a wall of passive aggression," she taped a copy of a city ordinance calling attention to the fact that it's illegal to stick anything on a city tree.

Walczak had fastened the chime to the tree with a screw, which she's since removed. It now hangs from a string looped around a branch—and there, Walczak vows, it will remain.

"I grew up on that block and my mom died on that block," she said. "I will not remove my wind chime because one person is affected by it."

Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.