Our Block Party Wasn’t as Bad as I Feared

Californians Are Understandably Wary of Their Neighbors, but There's Value in Getting to Know Them

Is it still worth getting to know your neighbors?

I found myself wondering that on a recent Saturday afternoon as I contemplated attending a block party in my San Gabriel Valley neighborhood. It would be the first such party on our street since we bought a home there in 2011. I had had nothing to do with preparations—I’d been traveling a lot—and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

We’d been happily living there for eight years, and hadn’t had any problems with neighbors, even though we didn’t know them particularly well. …

Windows Into Paris

When Voyeurs Make for Good Neighbors

If you’ve ever lived in a densely populated city, you’ve probably played this game: You gaze out your window at the apartment opposite and invent stories about the people inside. …