In the spirit of the season, I’ve invited the neighbours around for a Christmas drink on Sunday afternoon.
This is the little I know about them:
- the basement couple have two mad dogs, who are naughty and require a lot of telling off (“Bad dog! Baaaad!“)
- the man of the couple directly above us plays fantastic classical piano (the first night the H1B and I stayed here and, ahem, blessed the apartment our passion was accompanied by the crescendo of a Beethoven concerto – at least I think it was Beethoven)
- the man in the top flat works for a financial company and has just come back from London and his wife is on a long-term work placement in Minnesota (or was it Pennsylvania?)
The key to meeting your neighbours in a big city like New York is to smoke. We’ve had the best conversations with our neighbours when sitting on the stoop having our weekly cigarette and they are coming back from work. (Never say that the H1B and I don’t know how to let our hair down…)
Also, remembering names is useful but not my greatest strength as about two seconds into the conversation I’m trying to imagine more interesting aspects of their lives, such as how they managed to score such an attractive wife or if their apartment is bigger or nicer than ours. (I find a good rummage in the morning post helps to kick-starts the memory.)
The party is about 5pm. I’m thinking of serving mulled wine (festive, easy and all those lovely aromatic spices hide the cheapness of the wine), a few bottles of (better quality) white wine and beer, and non-alcoholic hot cider made from the incredible apple juice sold at the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket (okay, maybe with a splash of schnapps).
Foodwise, some homemade blinis if I can find the buckwheat flour, with sour cream, chives and smoked salmon. The H1B, true to his Calvinist roots, thought “we could just roast a few potatoes for people to pick at”, but I think we could stretch to some sweet potato wedges baked with rosemary, honey and plenty of rock salt.