Tags Posts tagged with "neighbors"

neighbors

METRO photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

We are one of the loudest families on the block, and there are only four of us when we’re all home. Well, five, if you count the dog, and you should definitely count the dog.

Every so often, my dog gets on one of his benders where the entire neighborhood has to hear him. He races into the backyard and barks at shadows that my eyes, and the eyes of my son, who runs to the back door and turns on the light, can’t see either.

Every neighbor presents his or her unique challenges to a block where we continue to spend a large percentage of our time. There’s the guy who drives too fast. We all glare at him, but he doesn’t seem to notice. He probably can’t see us because he’s moving too quickly and exists in a different space-time continuum. Don’t you love a word like continuum that dares to have two “u’s” in a row?

Then there’s the neighbor whose house is under constant construction. No matter what season, time of the month, or time of day, construction people are always there, digging, pulling, pushing, installing, removing, re-laying, resurfacing, ripping up, putting back down.

Who needs all that continuous fixing? I don’t even live in their house and I’m exhausted by the constant change. Sure, it’d be nice if that bulb above my wife’s head in our bedroom actually worked, but my arms are too short on the ladder and the bed is in the wrong place. I put my son on my shoulders and he reached up and turned, but the bulb and the fixture kept spinning.

On the other side, we have a lovely neighbor who is so nice that even the people who frown at the bunnies and deer, which prance through our neighborhood as if they were responding to a cue from a Disney director, smile at her. Her smile and laughter seem like a starter’s gun, waiting for a small cue to explode to the surface.

Anyway, the rest of her family is friendly enough, but doesn’t share her ebullience. They do, however, love their cars. The louder the sound, the more impressive the car, or so it seems. Their driveway hosts regular revving contests. Okay, how many columns have words with two consecutive “u’s” and two consecutive “v’s” in them? Revving continuum, anyone?

Somehow, despite the constant cacophony from the driveway, their house attracts an abundance of magnificent birds, even when they use the leaf blower to keep their immaculate backyard free of the few leaves with the temerity to fall on their property.

Then there is the talker. She’s incredibly sweet, insightful and intelligent. The two challenges are that the polite banter doesn’t seem to have a natural end, and she is so soft spoken that I find myself nodding and raising my eyebrows, hoping I’m offering the proper response to questions I can’t hear. I can’t move closer to her because we react to people as if they were porcupines, with six foot quills.

Then there are the adorables. These are the families that have young children who giggle, laugh and play, blissfully unfocused on the pandemic and thrilled that they are out on a bike or that they can identify a bird that passed overhead. They race each other on tiny bikes, ask me why I’m wearing the same sweatshirt again, and skip to the sound of music I can’t hear. They also see the nonstop trucks delivering materials to the construction house as a source of entertainment. One of our young neighbors was on her way to school on a recent morning. Her mother stopped her car and rolled down the window so she could tell me about Mrs. Cathy and Ms. Mary. Those happy adorables are the block winners.

by -
0 1448

Recent tragedies have shown just how good and inspired our community can be if everyone bands together behind a cause.

On Sept. 30 Boy Scouts from Troop 161, based in Shoreham, were hit by an alleged drunk driver while hiking in Manorville. While four young men suffered injuries, 12-year-old Andrew McMorris, a student at Shoreham-Wading River’s Albert G. Prodell Middle School, was pronounced dead the morning after he was hit.

The news quickly spread on social media, and the community rose rapidly to the occasion. Red ribbons still fly across Long Island from mailboxes, street signs and even entrances to Suffolk County parks. A GoFundMe to support the troop has already raised close to $19,000, and the wakes and funeral for the young man were packed by those wishing to pay respect.

We’ve seen this groundswell of community activism in other places in response to hard times elsewhere. On Sept. 25 Port Jefferson Village was inundated with water that in some places reached as high as 4 or 5 feet following intense rain. Port Jeff’s Theatre Three saw the worst of that damage, as the flooding destroyed props, costumes, play scripts, books and thousands of dollars in electrical equipment, not to mention structural damage to the old building. Yet again we saw the community step up to aid its local theater. Galvanized by news stories and online crowd funding campaigns, dozens of volunteers came to the theater to aid in the cleanup, and theater personnel reported it started receiving thousands of dollars in donations the morning right after the flood, which have continued.

The rise of online connectivity can prove a useful tool in times like these, yet still there is a pervading sense that the world is becoming more insular. With election season right on the horizon and with tensions rising, we kindly remind people it’s OK to be a good neighbor even in not-so-tragic times.

We in the news business know just how powerful and stimulating a community coming together can be. Yes, reporters are people too, and it’s hard not to be heartened, even in the face of mind-numbing tragedy, to drive to work every day with countless red ribbons lining both sides of the road like a landing strip.

Imagine if it didn’t take tragedy to excite such fervor in the local community. Two childhood friends in Commack have worked to bring Commack Day back to Hoyt Farm after a near-30-year absence. The lifelong friends and Commack natives James Manikas and Dean Spinato got the community involved by posting the idea to local Facebook groups, driving their support through connectivity.

There are so many issues that Long Island currently faces, from the threat of nitrogen in coastal waters, rising sea levels and a lack of affordable housing, yet we at TBR News Media watched how well the community can come together to get things done in times of need. It would be great to see the community come together more on an average day.

Recent tragedies have shown just how good and inspired our community can be if everyone bands together behind a cause.

On Sept. 30 Boy Scouts from Troop 161, based in Shoreham, were hit by an alleged drunk driver while hiking in Manorville. While four young men suffered injuries, 12-year-old Andrew McMorris, a student at Shoreham-Wading River’s Albert G. Prodell Middle School, was pronounced dead the morning after he was hit.

The news quickly spread on social media, and the community rose rapidly to the occasion. Red ribbons still fly across Long Island from mailboxes, street signs and even entrances to Suffolk County parks. A GoFundMe to support the troop has already raised close to $19,000, and the wakes and funeral for the young man were packed by those wishing to pay respect.

We’ve seen this groundswell of community activism in other places in response to hard times elsewhere. On Sept. 25 Port Jefferson Village was inundated with water that in some places reached as high as 4 or 5 feet following intense rain. Port Jeff’s Theatre Three saw the worst of that damage, as the flooding destroyed props, costumes, play scripts, books and thousands of dollars in electrical equipment, not to mention structural damage to the old building. Yet again we saw the community step up to aid its local theater. Galvanized by news stories and online crowd funding campaigns, dozens of volunteers came to the theater to aid in the cleanup, and theater personnel reported it started receiving thousands of dollars in donations the morning right after the flood, which have continued.

The rise of online connectivity can prove a useful tool in times like these, yet still there is a pervading sense that the world is becoming more insular. With election season right on the horizon and with tensions rising, we kindly remind people it’s OK to be a good neighbor even in not-so-tragic times.

We in the news business know just how powerful and stimulating a community coming together can be. Yes, reporters are people too, and it’s hard not to be heartened, even in the face of mind-numbing tragedy, to drive to work every day with countless red ribbons lining both sides of the road like a landing strip.

Imagine if it didn’t take tragedy to excite such fervor in the local community. Two childhood friends in Commack have worked to bring Commack Day back to Hoyt Farm after a near-30-year absence. The lifelong friends and Commack natives James Manikas and Dean Spinato got the community involved by posting the idea to local Facebook groups, driving their support through connectivity.

There are so many issues that Long Island currently faces, from the threat of nitrogen in coastal waters, rising sea levels and a lack of affordable housing, yet we at TBR News Media watched how well the community can come together to get things done in times of need. It would be great to see the community come together more on an average day.

by -
0 1115

After living in our new house in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a few weeks, we were delighted to receive an invitation to a block party to meet our neighbors.

Up to that point, we’d only seen and spoken with one neighbor. She and her family welcomed us to the area, offered an air-conditioning reference and shared the garbage pickup schedule.

The morning of the upcoming gathering, my wife and I took a walk through the neighborhood. We admired the landscaping and architecture of nearby homes. We moved off the sidewalk as runners passed us. We trotted up one lawn to clear space for a biker whose steering wheel seemed to be pulling left and right.

Most of the people in cars waved as they passed, a regular occurrence here, even when they didn’t know us.

My wife believes I alert the canines in the area that I am a “dog person.” A golden retriever and a black Labrador spotted me from across the street and stared, causing their owner to stop and wait as they watched us disappear up the block.

A friendly man with a small dog stopped and chatted. He asked if we were residents and if we were attending the block party that evening. When we told him we moved here with our kids, he asked what brought us down.

“Work,” we said.

“Oh,” he said, turning to me. “Did you get a job with one of the banks?”

“No, my wife did,” I replied, directing his attention to her.

He was embarrassed and immediately apologized for assuming I had landed a job that required us to relocate. We reassured him it was fine and we kept walking.

I am proud of my wife and her professional accomplishments. I also recognize, even in a world where people regularly discuss equal opportunity, that we are still far from situations in which people can’t assume anything about the roles husbands and wives play when they meet a couple.

Later that evening, with our children in tow, we walked the few blocks to the party, waving politely at a man who almost certainly carried a beer the same way 20 years ago when he was in college, although his clothing, like ours, was probably a few sizes smaller. Maybe that’s an unfair assumption, too?

When we arrived on a tree-lined cul-de-sac, we noticed that most of the children were considerably younger than our pair, who snarled about an early exit.

After urging them to stay, we made some selections in the crowd and broke the social ice. Consistent with our experience since our arrival, we found people who came originally from Long Island, New York and New Jersey.

We chatted with a proud father, who pointed to his high school senior and proclaimed her the best athlete in her entire school.

“You must be in public relations,” I said.

He and his daughter laughed.

“That guy over there,” he said, pointing to a house.

“Yes?” I replied.

“He is a neurosurgeon who works with football players. His attends games and he does concussion protocol.”

“Really?” I asked.

“The players are supposed to say ‘spaghetti’ when they see him after a hard hit. They get hit so hard that they say things like ‘ham’ or ‘bologna’ because they can’t remember the first concussion word,” he offered.

Our children, despite their initial disappointment, found contemporaries that night and are cellphone buddies with the kids on the block. We received restaurant recommendations and local service provider referrals, while we also will recognize a few of the people who exchange pleasant waves on and off the block.