When I was a college 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, 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. It was a week’s worth of social interaction for about ten bucks. We talked, told jokes, danced, played music and we got wasted. With a building about 50/50 between male musicians and female dancers, it was also a prolific hookup scene. So there was the occasional jilted lover fight as well. Life was microcosmic at the Hang.
After moving back to NYC I noticed that there were Hangs here too, especially in row house neighborhoods. In Brooklyn they’re called stoop hangs, where neighbors have their little conclaves and bitch about 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.
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