Noise, crowding, pollution, and the sheer rush of our complex, modern society are rapidly becoming as oppressive to many individuals as the worst kind of political dictatorship. -Thomas F. Eagleton

And the erstwhile VP candidate and U.S. Senator from Missouri never even lived in a NYC apartment building.

While the New York Times has successfully transformed itself into a national publication, we are pleased to see that it's not afraid to commit serious column-inches to the most parochial of New York concerns: hallway behavior. It addresses what occurs when residents squeezed into too-small apartments for too-large sums of money try to, or are offended by, encroachments into the tiny slivers of common areas that lie outside their apartment doors. Illegally parked strollers, intrusive cooking smells, and the infrequent piñata party all add to a sense that New Yorkers wish they could rely on the aphorism that good fences make good neighbors. The Times quotes one man working irregular hours put to the test:

“The weirdest was the morning I woke up and there was a lot of crying in the hall,” Mr. Harvey said. “It was about 7 a.m., and I was, like, ‘Enough!’

“So I go out in my boxers, and the nanny’s holding the little boy, who’s howling, and I said, ‘Is there any way you could take him inside the apartment?’ All the nanny said was, ‘She’s taking a shower, and we can’t go in until she’s done.’

“I didn’t want to be this whistle-blowing, annoying guy, and because I do stay home in the day I didn’t want them to think I was this slacker loser. But these are nice apartments. I know they have room to spare. It’s a public space in the hallway, and they were using it as their private nursery.”


Every New Yorker knows that the hallway is the least private and most contested spot in their lives. And more often than not, the neighbors they barely know are not only nosy, but occasionally insane. James O'Connor, president of Douglas Elliman Realty sums it up fairly succinctly in the Times' article:

“It’s just that 5 percent of New Yorkers are crazy,” he added, “and that just carries over.”

We cannot possibly argue with that, although we do love the candy wreath on an apartment door that a friend's neighbor invites to cut from with a pair of safety scissors.