Posts Tagged ‘apartment’

***UPDATE: I posed the question of whether to answer your doorbell in NYC to Reddit users to see what they had to say and I pretty much got abused. Read all about it here!

It’s Sunday night, about 11, after a long weekend. My fiancée and I are getting ready for bed when we hear the obnoxious buzzbuzzbuzz of our doorbell. We’re not expecting anyone.

It’s someone looking to gain access to the building without the use of a key. This is common in New York City apartment buildings, as it probably is in most other cities. We ignore it, not wanting to let a non-resident in but also not wanting to get involved in the situation. But after 15 seconds, we hear it again. Then another 15 seconds goes by, another buzzbuzzbuzz.

We can tell from the sounds in our hallway that the person outside is each apartment in the building in succession. When our neighbor across the hall hears us in the hallway debating what to do, she says, “Don’t let them in!” through her door, then comes out to discuss the situation.

Like us, she’s waiting for it to pass. Whoever it is will get tired and give up. Or someone else will let them in, which isn’t a desired outcome but will absolve us of responsibility for having let them in if it turns out they’re a burglar or worse.

After a few minutes I decide that it must be someone who lives in the building but is locked out. If it were me, I reason, I would buzz my 19 neighbors’ buzzers all night as I wouldn’t have any other option assuming my fiancée wasn’t home. Our building super doesn’t live in the building and is usually not eager to walk the 15 minutes from his own building, especially on a Sunday night. Plus the person may not have a phone on them if they don’t have their keys.

I announce to my fiancée and the girl across the hall that I’m going to pick up the intercom phone and try to see who’s buzzing. The girl across the hall says, “Even if they’re locked out, they still can’t get into their apartment.” “That’s their problem,” I respond. At least they’ll be inside.

“Who is it?” I ask him through the intercom.

A shaky male voice responds: “It’s Mr. Moss in apartment 3.”

“Is your name on your mailbox inside the building? And can you prove you live here?”

I ask him about the inside mailbox because the outside of the building has names from tenants past next to the apartment numbers. According to it, our last name is “Pipoli.” Even if an intruder claimed he was someone whose name was on the doorbell, I wouldn’t let them in if that name didn’t match the more updated inside mailbox.

“It certainly is,” he says, about his name on the mailbox. “And yes, I can” about proving whether he lives there.

“Okay, I’m coming down.” I throw on a pair of flip-flops as my fiancée hands me the pepper spray keychain I bought her when she first moved to the city.

When I arrive at the bottom of the stairs I see it’s the elderly man who I’ve seen many times at the mailboxes in our building and spoken to a few times. He is prepared with his ID when I get there but I know he lives here so I let him in, slightly embarrassed that I made him wait out there so long.

“Sorry, Mr. Moss. I recognize you now, of course, but I didn’t know your name or your apartment number.”

“Thank you,” he replies, genuinely but perhaps a little peeved it took that long for me to let him in. Still, I was the only one who had. I tell him goodnight and sprint back up the stairs.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? If not, what would you do if you were? Please feel free to share your story or opinion, if you have one, in the Comments.

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