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Does anyone think it’s weird that we don’t know our neighbors? I’ve lived in my apartment now for about a year and a half, yet I don’t know the names of any of the people I share a roof with. I just call them 4A or 5F. Sure, I smile and nod when I find myself in the elevator with someone or when we’re both grabbing our mail, but I don’t bake them cookies or stop over for a cup of sugar. My door is never open like it was in college and I’d find it bizarre if someone knocked on my door that wasn’t a food delivery guy or UPS. So this leads me to the question: What does being a good neighbor mean in New York?

In Oklahoma being a good neighbor is simple: don’t let your dog run wild, finish construction on your house in a timely manner, engage in small talk and buy Girl Scout cookies from the local troop. I took for granted that I knew all the names of the families living around me growing up. I knew all their business too. But in New York, all I know is what my neighbors look like and the odd bits of conversation I sometimes hear through the bathroom wall.

The NoteMy roommate was doing laundry in the basement the other day and received a rather harsh note from one of our neighbors. Now we are blessed to have laundry in our building (read Aly’s post about the Laundromat) but we only have one working washer and dryer. If I’ve learned anything from college, its laundry etiquette and this person had left their laundry unattended long after their quarters ran out, making it fair game to move. My roommate put it in one of the broken dryers and was treated to a note that said she did something “un-neighborly.”

A friend of mine was complaining tonight about their upstairs neighbor and how she can hear their TV blaring until 4 AM. She was searching for advice on the best way to confront them about her lost sleep.

So, from these examples, I’ve compiled a short list on what I think being a ‘good neighbor’ means in NYC.

  1. Remember in New York, everyone lives on top of everyone else. Be respectful of your noise level.
  2. Keep track of your laundry and retrieve it in a timely manner because you’re lucky to have laundry in your building in the first place.
  3. If you have a dog, don’t let it run crazy late at night.
  4. HOLD THE ELEVATOR
  5. Engage in pleasantries like “good morning” or “awful weather we’re having.”
    *if this proves too difficult, a nod would suffice*
  6. Don’t clog the trash chute
  7. Remember the hallway is a communal space.

That’s all I’ve got. Please share your own neighbor stories and add your two cents to my list!

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