Your front stoop or porch can be a great place to spend some time (albeit uncomfortable in the dead of a cold New England winter). You can meet your neighbors, get some fresh (or polluted) city air, and sometimes, even see some pretty interesting events take place. This is a how-to guide to help you sit or stand and enjoy the space right out your front door.
Simply sitting outside and watching what goes on helps you to get more in touch with your neighborhood. I have personally gotten to know what cars or bikes belong to who, who lives in what house. Faces will become familiar to you, and you will become a familiar face (just don't sit there ALL day, or people will start to wonder about you).
For this how-to guide, you will need:
-The space just beyond your front door
-A chair if you want, but not necessary
This is an item on the Neighbors Project Neighbors Checklist.
Step 1: Do the Things You Do.
Now that you've realized what an awesome place your stoop is, do whatever it is that you do there. You could have alone time, to read, eat, or just sit and enjoy the city rhythms. When this gets lonely, it's just as nice to stoop it up with company. The stoop is a great place to talk to your neighbors and your friends. Just don't get too crazy with stoop-euphoria and do something like talk loudly on your cell phone for the entire neighborhood to hear, or get super drunk and rowdy. Invite friends, but not so many that you turn your neighbors on you.
Step 2: Socialize, and Enjoy the Happenings.
Say hi to neighbors passing by. Smile, wave, or say hello. This can be tricky, and in some situations, it may feel aggressive, so just don't do it. But when someone is walking by and the awareness you have of each other is so great it's starting to feel awkward, this could be a great time to say hi. You can meet a whole host of people you never thought you could, even if it's just for a few moments.
I have learned that you can probably see more interesting things happening from your front stoop than on your TV or YouTube. This especially holds true on a Friday or Saturday night when the passer-bys are students wandering up from the corner bar and have definitely had a few or more, and even more fun when they are being wheeled up the hill in a shopping cart. But seriously, sitting on your front stoop can make for great stories later on; better than the ones that come from sitting in your lonely living room.
Step 3: Keep It Clean.
Don't let the front of your place go into disrepair, or it will be an eyesore and you'll have a reputation similar to that of Oscar the Grouch. Keep it looking nice, and you'll feel nice too; so will everyone else walking by. You should pick up any cans or wrappers you opened while on your stoop. And while you're at it, pick up any trash on the sidewalk near your apartment. You'll love how it looks. For a better idea of just how to clean up trash in front of your house, check out this guide.