Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My neighbor sits outside our building and smokes--please make her go away!

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | June 1, 2011 - 10:51AM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

On nice days, one of my elderly neighbors brings a lawn chair outside and parks her posterior in front of our building. She also smokes the occasional cigarette and tosses the butts on the sidewalk.

The doormen just shrug their shoulders but I think that (a) it is inappropriate to use the entrance to our co-op building as her personal terrace and (b) the smoke and litter are affecting my quality of life. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.


No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

Dear Butts,

As you may know, I am an unabashed proponent of sidewalk chalk drawings and lemonade stands for urban children. Similarly, I would be hard-pressed to take away a small pleasure away from someone at the other end of the age spectrum. This is someone who may have limited mobility and/or social interaction; I would feel differently if it were two college students who can easily hoof it to Sheep's Meadow like the rest of us.

As for the smoking and subsequent littering, that is another story. Bloomberg's outdoor smoking prohibitions have yet to include all sidewalks but the smoke-friendly spaces are shrinking fast.   Her butt can stay in the chair, but the butts need to stay upstairs (lit and unlit).  

In my building, doormen ask both strangers and residents to please refrain from smoking in front of the entrance and 20 feet on either side of it.   Non-residents are advised to move it along and residents are informed that their behavior is against the cooperative by-laws.

Stay dry and breathe easy,

Ms. Demeanor

Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.


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