Dear Ms. Demeanor,
I just moved into a co-op for the first time (I'm a lifelong renter). Now that I'm setting down roots, I'd love to be have a friendlier relationship with my neighbors. Any suggestions on how to break the ice?
Dear Co-op Virgin,
Congratulations! It really depends on the vibe of the building -- is it icy cool or kibbutz-like? Either way, giving a calling card of sorts (names of all family members, email addresses, home/work/cell numbers) to next door neighbors, super, head doorman, and co-op board president is a lovely and wise gesture.
Beyond that, if anyone brings over a gift or invites you for coffee or a glass of wine, be sure to thank and/or reciprocate within a few days. If the invite is offered far enough in advance, bring something to nibble on.
For those on the other side of the welcome mat, I'd recommend they make their new neighbor feel at home with the aforementioned invite or even by bringing over a basket of fruit, a plant, or flowers (avoid wine, cakes or cookies, as one never knows if alcohol or gluten is verboten in a home) and a welcome note with your contact information. This is both warm and generous without being too aggressive. Your neighbor can take it, or leave it, from there.
Wave to the welcome wagon for me,