broadsideblog

Losing My Neighbor — Sigh

In behavior, business, cities, culture, entertainment, urban life, women on September 12, 2010 at 3:17 pm
Neighbors (1920 film)
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Last night we had everyone on our end of the hallway in for dinner, nine of us in all. (Four couldn’t make it.)

The event? My next-door neighbor — who moved into her apartment weeks before I moved into mine in 1989 — is moving. Sob.

She’s low-key, friendly, down-to-earth. Her laughter peals through the walls. She’s let me crawl across the balcony several times over the years after I locked myself out. Last winter, I went onto the balcony in thick snow — barefoot (don’t ask) — and the terrace door slammed shut, locking me out. The windows were firmly shut.

Thank God she works at home, was home and let me in through her terrace door. With not a word of “What on earth were you doing in snow barefoot?”

Anyone who has shared walls or a floor with others for decades knows wayyyyy too much about their neighbors. The man downstairs begins every single day with coughing and spitting so loud you’d think an ambulance was iminent.

Diana has heard many “discussions”, as she discreetly termed them last night, from our home. Yesterday morning required 15 firefighters from four towns to pry open the elevator doors and let out one of our floor’s eldest residents, trapped for an hour. Two of her neighbors stayed with her the whole time shouting encouragement.

So we toasted her and gave her a card and reminisced about all the comings and goings over the years. Our new neighbors, a couple with a young daughter moving from Queens  — as Emily said sternly to her new colleague in “The Devil Wears Prada” — have some mighty big shoes to fill.

Luckily, she’s only moving a 10-minute drive north.

Here’s a fun piece in yesterday’s New York Times about some of the city’s friendliest apartment buildings.

Do you like your neighbors?

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  1. Change is hardest with the neighbors, I think. I hope the new folks are at least not annoying.

  2. This is why I am nervous. They sound — from the outgoing neighbor’s description — like PITAs. Time will tell…

  3. My neighbor of over thirty years died a year ago this past April. He was living with his daughter, an accomplished young lady who has a law degree from Columbia and traveled the world with her father. Ray was a retired schoolteacher and an artist, who at age sixty eight was beginning to be noticed by the Latino SoCal community for his migrant worker watercolors. I grieved his loss as a friend and neighbor but my wife and I have become close to Aurelia, his daughter. Neighbors are sort of like relatives, you can’t really pick them you just hope that you can live with them. Tom Medlicott – Happy to be back at home after a week of funeral, sort of bad food, and unexpected expense.

  4. Sorry to hear about all these losses! We lost one of our building neighbors a few years ago, a woman my age – and because our building is filled with very elderly, recently lost our 96 yr old. She was a lot of fun, and we all miss her.

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