Meredith Carroll: Break out a tiny violin for East Hopkins Avenue family |

Meredith Carroll: Break out a tiny violin for East Hopkins Avenue family

Meredith C. Carroll
Muck Off

Who could blame Michael Sedoy and Natalia Shvachko for cowering precariously as they fear for life and liberty in their $6.28 million duplex penthouse above the mean streets of Aspen?

After all, “9 men wounded in shootings on West, South sides” was one newspaper headline last week. Sure, it was a headline in the Chicago Tribune, but still.

How about “Panda cub dies after frantic six-hour effort to save its life”? Oh, wait. That was in The Washington Post. And it was about a panda.

Well, there was also the headline declaring, “Suspect in shooting killed by police during exchange of gunfire.” Never mind that it was in the Miami Herald — Aspen is just as dangerous as any big city. Remember four years ago, when only a block and a half away from Sedoy and Shvachko’s East Hopkins Avenue residence, there was a literal mob right on the Hyman Avenue mall? Granted, it was a flash mob celebrating the 30th anniversary of the dancing fountain, but it was a mob nonetheless. How can anyone be expected to sleep at night knowing mobs might erupt into dance at any moment so close to where they live?

Sedoy and Shvachko so clearly want to fly under the radar, and yet it’s they who keep landing in court and on the front pages, not the beer-swilling, music-playing, disabled, service-entrance-averse, elevator-hungry, affordable-housing-living residents they dread. The couple is back in the news for the nth time since they bought their place in 2011 (“Judge: Screaming drunks not an emergency” was the headline in Friday’s Aspen Daily News). This time, it comes after Judge Gail Nichols denied their emergency motion to move up a contempt-of-court hearing for one of their downstairs neighbors, Bootsy Bellows, which Sedoy and Shvachko have accused of acting like a nightclub instead of a restaurant.

Their proof? “Screaming, inebriated nightclub patrons.”

The horrors.

Imagine living for four years smack in the middle of Aspen’s restaurant row to continually find — people. Who consume alcohol. And speak loudly. And sometimes they don’t even eat (although surely Bootsy Bellows’ $14 truffle grilled-cheese is delightful). The nerve.

Making matters worse is that Shvachko has been forced to guard herself and the couple’s two young children while Sedoy lives and works safe and sound in New York City, where there had been 861 shooting victims in 2015 as of Aug. 16. By comparison, there are zero shooting victims in Aspen this year. Who’s to say (non-hunting) shootings can’t happen here, though? Especially when there are $14 truffle grilled-cheese sandwiches in the mix.

In addition to Bootsy Bellows’ “screaming drunks,” the couple say they are being subjected to “smoke from the patrons’ smoking,” which “infiltrates their bedroom windows.” Unfortunately, though, because it’s Aspen, Nichols pointed out there will be “drunks on the street making noise … regardless of the presence of a nightclub,” although surely she doesn’t expect Sedoy and Shvachko to sit back and accept that people in a resort town will imbibe. Downtown. In places that exist, at least in part, to serve alcohol.

Admittedly, there is a racket emanating from East Hopkins Avenue, except it has nothing to do with the restaurants or their patrons and everything to do with the complainants. When you choose to spend millions of dollars to live above a known cluster of establishments that post food and drink menus on their doors and windows for all to see and then declare something has to change after your arrival, know that it probably won’t be the things that preceded you.

Fortunately, the family has options should they stop trying to change the ambience of Aspen’s lively city center to more closely resemble the mood in and around the Unabomber’s cabin. They could move near St. Benedict’s Monastery in Old Snowmass — unless the chanting of the Trappist monks will prove harmful to their delicate ears. There are also a fair number of relatively remote Starwood and Red Mountain homes on the market, even if the abundance of Aspen privilege can be deafening at times, too. If those in Oklahoma Flats want to ensure no zoning changes to their neighborhood, they might consider luring Sedoy and Shvachko over that way. Surely the Aspen Brewing Co. doesn’t have the will to go another round with them.

Or perhaps the beleaguered family will finally give up and relocate permanently to their Sutton Place residence in New York City, where, if they have an issue with the noise from the nearby United Nations, FDR Drive or Queensboro Bridge, they can take it up with, well, New York City. Let us know how that works out for you, Michael and Natalia.

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