Would You Rather?

Would you rather live on a deserted block, or one where people hang out in front of their buildings?

By Lambeth Hochwald  | March 12, 2018 - 9:00AM

It can be daunting to live on a residential block where everyone stays inside, especially when you come home late at night and it feels like a ghost town. Then again, a block where lots of people sit on their stoops or brings out chairs and milk crates in the summer can be off-putting in a different way, especially if you have issues with certain of your neighbors.

We asked five New Yorkers which kind of block they like most. Turns out this was a trickier question than we expected.

No middle ground

“Despite living in a city of millions, most New Yorkers, including me, prefer to be invisible when it comes to interaction with others in and around their building. There are too many people in this city anyway so I would prefer not to see anybody or have to walk through a crowd to get in and out of my building. Or maybe it’s because I’m a curmudgeon… who knows!”—Lanny Grossman, Upper East Side

Depends. Do the people outside have a bed time?

“Um... neither. In a city of millions, living on a deserted block is just plain creepy in its quietness, but having folks hanging out outside chatting away while I'm trying to sleep doesn’t work for my beauty sleep. I think I’m maybe seeking a hybrid block: one that’s quiet when I'm sleeping and boisterous during the day?”—Heather Jackson, Harlem

I chose this place for the people

“I’d definitely want to live on a block where people hang out in front of their buildings ... this is New York City!”—Jennifer Cherney, Midtown West

The more people around, the safer I’ll feel

“I way prefer a block where people sit in front of their buildings. That is how you meet the most interesting people! Plus, this means there will be someone around if you are being chased. Instant safety.”—Lindsey O’Connell, Astoria

Can I have my cake and eat it too?

“I want both. A deserted street feels a bit ominous and the people of the city are what make it so fantastic! That said, I don’t really need the 2 a.m. bar scene unfolding under my bedroom window. The drunken squabble followed by the clip of a shattering beer bottle on the brick building is not exactly my thing and was a regular occurrence at my last address.”—Ash Sandberg, Harlem

The verdict: There's no clear winner, as the people we spoke to want a little bit of everything out of their blocks.




Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.