When I was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I barely had the money to pay my rent and ramen overhead. The 80 unit building was full of Berklee musicians and North England Conservatory dancers, all of us in the same economic boat. Rather than hit a bar at night, we hung out on the large, stone front stoop of our building. People would contribute a few quarts of beer, cheap wine, a radio, some sandwiches and herbal remedies and that was our social scene. It came to be known as The Meaningless Hang, or The Hang.
The Hang was a week’s worth of social interaction for about ten bucks. We talked, told jokes, danced, played music and got wasted. With a building about 50/50 between male musicians and female dancers, it was also a prolific hookup scene. There was the occasional jilted lover fight for a sideshow. Life was microcosmic at the Hang.
After moving back to NYC, and then to Brooklyn, I noticed that there were Hangs here too, especially in row house neighborhoods. They’re called stoop hangs, where neighbors have their little conclaves and bitch about the mayor, bad parkers, the weather, and so forth.They are inherently more political than the Meaningless Hang but nonetheless cheap, egalitarian fun if you have time to kill.
There is always at least one “talker” at the Hangs, someone who moderates and keeps the discussion going. It’s usually the homeowner. In this Stoop Hang it’s me but I may invite selected guests to contribute.