In Bushwick, the neighborly ‘hello’ in the hallway led to hanging out in each other’s apartments, and spirited theater-karaoke nights singing show tunes.

Emily Zaboski sometimes struggles to describe her living situation to people she meets.

“Everybody we know is like, ‘Wait, so you just — you have two apartments?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, no, but kind of,’” she said.

Ms. Zaboski technically has just one apartment. She and her roommate Jinn Liu moved into a three-bedroom apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in the summer of 2020. At the same time, another group of roommates moved into the four-bedroom apartment on the floor above.

Ms. Zaboski and Ms. Liu didn’t think a lot about their upstairs neighbors, only to say hello in passing. They noticed they all seemed to be about the same age, in their mid-20s. Neither of the women expected to get to know their neighbors. They never had before.

“In New York, people are so separated,” Ms. Zaboski said. “Even the people who live next door to you, you don’t know their last names all the time.”

It only took about a month for the residents of the separate apartments to mingle over drinks on the outside patio. More than three years later, the two groups have all but merged into one household.

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