Wednesday, October 5, 2011

on the neighborhood.

completely irrelevant picture. it's just awesome. picture and video via here.
after living in a new york for a few years, probably one of my favorite things is feeling like a part of my neighborhood. when you first move here you wonder - will i know my neighbors? will anything stay consistent? will anything feel familiar? and as more time goes on you find that you become a regular. at very specific times and in very specific places, you see the same people and they see you. sometimes neighborhoods in nyc can last a block. sometimes, even that block is filled with different neighborhoods, a different one occurring every hour. eventually you find out who the regulars are, you become one yourself, and you start to feel more at home everyday. it's not just the suburbs that breed familiarity.
my favorite regular in my neighborhood is a man and his bulldog. when i come home from work, depending on the time, they are doing either one of two things.
they smoke a cigar outside their apartment building. the owner is a new yorker, through and through. italian, tan, yankees fan, waiting to talk to the next person who will strike up a conversation with him. he sits on the ledge outside his building, smoking his daily cigar, and his bulldog sits up on the ledge next to him, as if he was just another old pal.
later in the evening, they move down to the tiny italian restaurant around the corner from me. the owner always sits at the last table on the left, outside, and his dog always sits on a chair. just another guest at the table. the owner drinks a glass of red, maybe has some dinner. his trusty old bulldog just sits in his chair, watching everyone walk by. today, just like me, the bulldog was wearing his first coat of the season, announcing the official arrival of fall.
i love this man and his bulldog. they are my regulars, my neighbors, my familiar. the daily nod we share knows we're both in on the secret that we're not just passing through. this isn't just some random street, or some random restaurant that we've happened upon. it is, in this big mess of a city, our home. and we love it.


  1. Oh my god, that video was soooooooo cute! I'm sharing this on Twitter!

  2. jillian - i know! it's beyond cute.

  3. Possibly my favorite post yet.

    There's an old lady in our building who has two small, tan poodles. They always have bows in their hair. If you pass her in the foyer, you must stop and say hello. To all three of them.

  4. molly - lol, i love it. the characters in this city are the best.

  5. Charming. Sometimes I worry I over-romanticize city life, but this post makes me think probably not.

    We live on a dead end, country street where almost every house is original owners from the early 60s. So it's mostly couples in their seventies. I loooooooooove it. Joan and her Bassett hound, Annie are probably my favorite. Or Mr. Khan the walnut farmer and his wife that never comes outside.

  6. I love having regulars. I think that's the main thing I miss since we've moved. I need to get some new regulars!

  7. erin - your neighbors sound awesome. old people always prove more interesting as neighbors than anyone else.

    sherri lynn - you'll get there, don't worry!

  8. Love, love, love this post, Colleen! (& that picture too)

    Mind to send me your email? I don't have it, and I wanted to comment back on your Smashbox brushes. :))

  9. ha, that is indeed a fantastic picture. and there is something so lovely about wonderful neighbors isn't there.

  10. This story is so culture rich! I love how you write, Colleen! I also love the fact that the man's bulldog is nice company for dinner!


    Erin @

  11. My most familiar neighbor is an old Greek lady next door, who always wears a mumu, and waters her lawn for hours while sitting in a plastic lawn chair. She's kind of a grump, too. I like the sound of your neighbor with his bulldog much better! So cute that they go eat together!


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