Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: How not to be THAT neighbor when the nabe's dog pees in the elevator

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | May 2, 2012 - 11:25AM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

Love, love, love my co-op downtown and love, love, love my neighbors...most of the time.  However, little things come up every now and then that are very annoying and/or very inconsiderate.  

I do not want to be a 'hall monitor' and become that hated, busy-body neighbor who reminds people to properly sort their garbage or (most disturbingly) clean up after their dog when she pees in the elevator (twice that I have witnessed personally).  Nor do I want to be a tattle-tale by running right to the super or the managing agent.

What should I do?



Dear THAT,

Vertical living is a community of shared responsibility.  Whether rental, coop, or condo, respect for shared spaces is one of the key components of proper building etiquette.  

Unfortunately, the very presence of service people in the building - supers, porters, doorman, elevator operators, etc. - can make it easier for residents to avoid or ignore their responsibility, but inconsiderate behavior (particularly the doggie pee) does not fly with Ms. D.  

As with children, modeling good behavior is paramount.  If you want good neighbor, be a good neighbor yourself (and maybe spill something and clean it up when you are next in the elevator with the offending dog and his master).  

It often takes as little as a copy of house rules passed under the door and/or hung in the elevator - perhaps with the broken rule in question highlighted - to remind people that they have been sliding and others have noticed.  

If 'cleaning up after your own dog' is not expressly stated in the rules, a letter from the management company (or coop board or super or...) distributed in the same manner should do the trick.  


Your Friendly Neighborhood Etiquette Columnist,

Ms. D

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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