‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: Would You Want Kramer as a Neighbor?

Are you friendly with your neighbors?

New Yorkers, for better or worse, are stereotyped as being very un-neighborly—most would be categorized as not being able to pick out their next-door neighbor in a lineup. (Actually, for me this is pretty true. I know my neighbors as “Woman who takes her kid to school the same time I’m leaving for work,” “Guy who yelled at my husband for building our Ikea furniture too loudly” and several variations of “Person who looks vaguely familiar so I assume lives here and isn’t some murderer I just held the front door open for.”) But what if apartment living was more like it was on TV, with a crazy neighbor bursting in to your apartment at all hours?

This question was recently posted on Reddit. The writer likened the experience to being Jerry on Seinfeld and having Kramer as a neighbor.

So, what do you think? Would you like to live in a building with an “open door” policy, or encourage your residents to have one?

Personally, I would not. It’s too much pressure to always have a clean apartment in case a neighbor happens to drop by. (And don’t mother-in-laws already inspire this fear enough?) Of course, I wouldn’t mind people knocking to ask to borrow a cup of sugar every now and then (wait, do people even still do that?), but I wouldn’t want them barging in to help themselves. First of all, I would just get a little nervous of property accidentally being broken, things getting stolen, or (especially if I was alone in the apartment) the threat of physical harm. Second, and maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child in my family, but I have trouble sharing. And third, what if I had a long day at work—or was in the bathroom—and didn’t feel like making small talk at that moment.

Though maybe that’s just me being a cynical New Yorker. On the other hand, it would certainly allow for the possibility of more friendships to be forged, and it would build more of a “community” feel in the building. Plus you’d apparently have access to a lot more sugar, for whatever that’s worth.

Have you ever experienced this type of interaction with your neighbors (or neighborinos, if you prefer your neighbors to be more of the Ned Flanders variety than Cosmo Kramer) or your residents? If not, what do you think of it?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

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