That Escalated Quickly: Neighborhood Feuds for the Ages

That Escalated Quickly: Neighborhood Feuds for the Ages

It’s an old saying, but it sometimes rings true: good fences can make good neighbors. Partitions encourage boundaries, which can foster respect and a healthy relationship with the people over your wall. But sometimes we hire experts to build fences because the neighbors may be less than ideal.

People in proximity can sometimes get on each other’s nerves, and sometimes tempers can suddenly burst. An outburst of violence should never be the solution to an issue with your neighbor, but some people have made getting back at their neighbor into an art form. 

Take a look at some neighborhood feuds that may go down in history because of the creative, and sometimes petty, ways they vented their frustrations.

Unsolicited Dating Advice in a Banner

A man who lived in an apartment in Washington, D.C., had grown tired of the two restaurants that shared the alley in front of his building. According to him, the food establishments would routinely leave garbage and spoiled food in the alleyway, and the bad smells would waft into his apartment. The man phoned the health department with his complaints. The health department found no serious code violations and concluded their investigation.

In retaliation, the owner of the restaurants placed a large banner directly facing the apartment. Printed on it were the words “YOU NEED A BOYFRIEND.” Unfortunately for the petty restaurant owner, other residents of the apartment took offense at the unsolicited dating advice, including a single woman who promptly complained about what she thought was an attack against her.

A Very Rude Statue


Two neighbors in Los Angeles got into a boundary dispute because of an ornamental pond. The woman who had the pond made did not know at the time that the space intruded on her neighbor’s property. After the neighbor asked her to move the pond, the angry woman contemplated on how she was going to announce her feelings.

Her anger manifested in a statue of a giant hand with its middle finger extended.  The statue was visible from the street and directly faced her neighbor. The rude stone hand caused quite a stir when it went up, and it remained on the lawn for years. But the feud between the two neighbors had long since faded.

This wasn’t the only time a homeowner erected a massive middle-finger statue in anger. A Vermont man had one carved and set on an illuminated 16-foot pole to show his anger at the local government because of a decade-long permit battle.

A Huge Stone Wall

An English couple added a sundeck to their home in a coastal town in Lancashire, United Kingdom. The couple wanted to enjoy seaside breezes and a great view of the Irish Sea. Unfortunately, the sundeck also looked over the backyard of their neighbor. The man was unhappy at what he thought was a breach of his privacy and decided to reclaim his peace and quiet.

The neighbor built a 16-foot high brick wall between the two properties. The wall, which became a sort of local tourist attraction, blocks the sundeck’s view of the neighbor’s yard and the sea breezes the couple wanted. The couple and other locals have complained about the massive brick divider, with some of them comparing it to the Great Wall of China or the Berlin Wall. Although local authorities had part of the structure pulled down, he still managed to retain 80 percent of the brick wall.

Having a neighbor you don’t see eye to eye with can be difficult. Although it can be easier to simply build a wall between you, building a better relationship is more sensible. Talk to your neighbor, and have a respectful discussion of your grievances. And if that fails, you can always invest in better property barriers. Or a giant hand with its middle finger extended.