Nora's Court


Photograph: Devin Elijah

It doesn’t matter how nice you are. Eventually, you’ll be wronged by someone, whether it’s a roommate who ate your peanut butter without asking or a noisy neighbor who plays drum ’n’ bass at 3am. Are those disputes worth suing over? Probably not. But if you want to bask in the self-righteous power of knowing that you are right and they are wrong, bitch about it at Nora’s Court (Pete’s Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St between Frost and Richardson Sts; 718-302-3770; Tue 6 at 7pm, free). Nora Breen, 45, runs a dog-walking service in Soho by day. But once a month, she presides over a mock courtroom (in the style of Judges Judy and Wapner) and mediates minor arguments about money or bad behavior. Televised court programs inspired Breen to start her faux hall of justice. “The first show that I liked was called Moral Court,” she says. “It was great because they weren’t legal cases; they were moral ones.” At the first Nora’s Court in March, two men settled a disagreement over the cost of a suit one of them purchased on the promise of a gig impersonating Ryan Seacrest. Nora decided against the Seacrest wanna-be, who had never filled out a contract for the event (and was pissed when it didn’t happen). “He made a bad decision spending money on something that wasn’t a sure thing,” Breen explains. The audience, which gets to weigh in after each case is decided, sided with Breen, but ultimately, both men found closure. Even though there isn’t any monetary compensation, Breen says that participants tend to be mollified. “Once the resolution happens, it’s really satisfying,” she says. “In one case, the person just wanted an apology, and they got it.” If you have an argument to settle, e-mail norascourt@gmail.com—Breen reviews all the cases she receives to determine which ones are suitable for her court. The Tuesday 6 throwdown includes a dispute between a married couple who just happen to be Breen’s neighbors. As for Breen’s judicial demeanor when she has a hammer in hand, she says she’s partial to the style of the Honorable Marilyn Milian, of The People’s Court. “She’s not a screamer like Judge Judy,” Breen explains.—Amy Plitt

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