15 Neighbors You Will Have in New York City

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Whether you've lived in New York for one year or 50, you will have encountered at various points the phenomenon of the New York City neighbor, that extending to anyone who lives next door, next door-next door, on the other side, upstairs, downstairs, somewhere mysteriously ensconced in the deepest confines of your building and forever untraceable, and yet, still, you can hear them talking!, outside your window and in the next apartment over, and so on. We are a city. You are surrounded by people, and that is true even when you're at home -- in bed, making dinner, eating an old, cold bowl of macaroni on the couch, doing yoga, or tending to your Chia Pet. You are surrounded. Following is a list of 15 people you may experience living next to, at some point or another, during your stay here. This is by no means conclusive. We are all originals.

15. The Sexually Open. These folks don't care if you hear them doing whatever it is they're doing -- maybe they even like it! And, oh, how frequently they do it seems to buttress (heh) that fact. Maybe it's a couple, maybe it's a single person with a lot of friends. You don't know, you don't WANT to know. But you do. You hear them at the most inopportune moments, like when Granny comes over for tea and brings her famous homemade crumpets and when on the phone for an important work call with some nuns, or when you're just desperately trying to go the fuck to sleep. Sometimes you bang the ceiling with a broom, but that only arouses them further. (Buy earplugs -- they help a little, though not with "vibrations.")

14. The People With Incurable Dropsy. We realize that dropsy is actually not an ailment that makes you drop things, but for these purposes, today, it is. You know them well, these addled spirits, because THEY MAKE YOU KNOW THEM. They tend to drop things at night, or during particularly scary movies, probably on purpose. They may even have a small hole drilled into their floor to check for the special moment you're least expecting the noise of a bowling ball to plummet atop your head, and do it then. They love surprises! We would feel sorry for them, imagining their harrowing lives in which nothing stays in their hands -- a true disability, that -- but we hate them too, too much.

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13. The Note Leaver. He comes in varieties passive-aggressive and aggressive-aggressive. He might say -- no, not say, he does not talk, nor does he let you know if he is indeed a he -- he might write something along the lines of, "Howdy, neighbor there. You probably have no idea that when you smoke your high-end marijuana right downstairs from me on your open patio and screech like inane ninnies, I can hear you! I'm sure you won't mind taking it inside at night, now that you know." Or he might write, "What is wrong with you if you don't shut up I'm going to call the cops MOTHER FUCKERS." Either way, you'll never be friends.

12. The International Emotional-Breakdown-Haver. This person is quiet as a mouse during the daytime, and you never see her, but around 3 a.m., when you are fast asleep, you will be awoken by a piercing scream, pounding upon walls, crashing noises, and weeping. You will hear whoever it is on the speaker phone shushing her in murmuring, accented tones, trying to calm her. It is 8 a.m. in London, or 3 p.m. in Singapore, or 9 a.m. in Tel Aviv, and she is as homesick and/or lovelorn as your walls are thin. The only thing you can do is hope she moves, and hopefully not upstairs.

11. The Children. You can't blame them for being there, but you can blame their parents, particularly if they allow them to play baseball in the hallways because the apartments aren't big enough. Still, when one of them knocks on your door and asks you for something to drink, you are not so heartless that you don't give it to him. Only later do you wonder if it was such a good idea to let a little kid into your apartment, or to give him the week-old Cabernet that was the only thing you had in your fridge.



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