Friday, July 10, 2020 / by Erik Bjorklund
Getting familiar with the strangers next door.
Think of your neighbors before the pandemic: Their letters in your mailbox and the inexplicable bowling-ball sounds from above, or the person you passed on the street who looked so familiar but you weren’t sure why.
These weak ties were always crucial to our sense of community, but now, three-plus months into a routine of self-isolation that has more of us sticking close to home and relying on our neighbors for everything from groceries to social interaction, we’ve gotten more acquainted with those strangers next door. We’ve met through local mutual-aid societies that sprang up amid months of isolation, or simply because we’re spending more time on the porch or stoop. (This newfound intimacy might be tinged with frustration as we come face-to-face with each other’s quirks.)
In Curbed’s Neighbors Issue, we look at what it means to form relationships with the people who live closest to us, whether we met before or during the pandemic, or whether we live in L.A.’s bungalow courts (we stan the most neighborly form of housing in the U.S.), a New York City apartment building, or a pair of RVs that caravan together. As the country roils amid COVID-19 and the renewed movement for Black lives, we’re thinking about what it means to be a neighbor beyond our front doors. —Sara Polsky
Writers: Diana Budds, Jessica Gross, Hadley Meares, Zan Romanoff, Melody Warnick, Andrew Zaleski
Editors: Sara Polsky, Mercedes Kraus
Art Direction: Alyssa Nassner
Illustrations: Mary Kate McDevitt
Copy Editors: Emma Alpern, Cynthia Orgel, Carl Rosen
Special Thanks: Mariam Aldhahi, Megan Barber, Willy Blackmore, Marisa Carroll