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The Stoop

Good for Kenji, standing up to the stoop police.

Going to Rutgers and living in New Brunswick, NJ,  we used to always sit on our stoop drinking beer. It was a college town, and kids were always on their way too or from class. So the stoops were a way for us to get interact with our neighbors. They were a place to enjoy a beautiful day. The stoop was a place to avoid the trapped in heat of a house with no air conditioning. There were days where it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that we were renting a stoop with a house attached.

I remember the way we kept the beers behind our backs. We would hide them behind out shins as the cops drove by. Once I remember we had a bottle of Jim Beam, and to avoid open container laws we stuffed the bottle into an oven mitt and drank out of that. Sure, you could say we were going a little overboard. If we had to go to those lengths to drink, it wasn’t worth it, and maybe we should have been enjoying a nice iced tea instead. All I can say is it was college and what were you doing when you were 21?

I wouldn’t have given that stoop up for all the back yards in New Brunswick. Without that stoop, I wouldn’t have known that we had an old timey country band living 2 doors down.

It’s crazy, looking back, to think that we were always split second away from a fine just for enjoying our private property. We weren’t hurting anyone. We rarely went overboard. If we did cross any lines, there are plenty of public nuisance laws that could have caught us. Why bother casting a net that will snare law abiding citizens on private property?

It’s funny that, now that I have a proper porch, I don’t spend much time on there. I’ll have a beer our there and play some guitar on occasion, but in Long Branch we don’t have the walking culture that the college town part of New Brunswick has. Being set back 15 feet from the street, where no one is walking anyway, takes much of the fun out of the experience. While I don’t live in a stoop-friendly neighborhood now, I can relate to those trying to keep it alive. Long live the stoop!

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