MAKING YOUR COMMUNITY A FRIENDLIER PLACE

Today is my 51st birthday.  I’m also in London at the moment taking in the sights with the family.  We’ll also get to see Paris, Amsterdam and Bruges.  A fun and exciting week lies ahead.  And then, it’s back home to the HOA that I live in and the condominium association I work in.

Today, I’m obviously in good spirits.  So, it made me think….are there things we can be doing in our buildings and communities that would make them more pleasant and fun to live in?  Other than in 55 and over communities I hardly ever hear any more about community events that bring the residents together.

For those of you who lived in the northeast, you remember “block parties” where everyone who lived on the same block cooked some food, took out some lawn chairs, sat on the street and the kids played all kinds of outdoor games.  They were great.  I live in my community for 16 years – not a single community event.

For those of you that are fans of Seinfeld, you may recall the episode where the residents of Jerry’s building put up pictures of themselves in the lobby.  That way, everyone got to know and recognize each other.  Is it a crazy idea?  You tell me.

I’ll say this….I love to reminisce about the co-op that I grew-up in in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.  There were four buildings each containing 60 families.  Believe me, out of the 240 families, I knew half of them well.  It was amazing.  The kids played ball together, the mothers played mah-jong together and lots of the fathers played cards together once or twice a week.  On any given night in the warm weather, our on-site playgrounds were filled with kids and the parents sat on all of the park benches and stayed out well past dark.  Of course, the thrill of the night was when we heard the ice cream man was coming.  All hell broke loose.  Fun days.

So, is it possible to bring back those days?  Do I remember a time and a place whose time has simply come and gone?  Or, am I wrong and some of you still happen to live in one of those communities where neighbors know their neighbors well?  Is it simply too damm hot in Florida for the neighbors to stay outside together and socialize?  How can we make our communities more fun?  More caring?  Or is simply looking at our stupid I-phones, computers and reality TV shows now enough to keep us happy?  I certainly know what I would rather be doing.  Give me a Spalding and a dollar and there’s no place I’d rather be.

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