Next-door neighbors

When I was growing up, my parents always had a friendly relationship with the family who lived in the duplex next door to us. The family, who were Russian immigrants, owned a catering company and oftentimes, they would share food with us — everything from fresh cut meats, cheeses, to hot loaves of bread. My mom, endlessly obsessed with “paying back,” would always return the favor by buying an extra box of pastries or cookies and ringing on their door. I always wondered if they enjoyed the food we gave. We certainly appreciated their food.

When I moved to New York, I was a little sad at how anonymous neighbor relationships are. Of course, I expected this, but I do like having friendly relations with neighbors. No one really knows their neighbors here in the city, and they don’t care to. In the last building we lived at on the Upper East Side, we’d be polite and say hello when we ran into each other, but I didn’t even know their names. So now, we’re in a building now that, although big, has only six units per floor, I thought I’d start sharing some food. I knocked on the door of the unit two doors down to ask if they wanted some bottled, unopened tea that was gifted to us that we didn’t need, and they happily accepted it (it’s a family of two very young kids, so I’m sure they appreciated any free food). Then, we have a couple who lives in the studio next door to us who look to be around our age. I shared my banana bread with them a few days ago. Today, they knocked on our door and asked if we’d be interested in some freshly made tiramisu; they love to cook too, and they cook often. My eyes widened. I LOVE TIRAMISU.

I love having friendly neighbors, especially ones who like to share food.

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