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When In-Laws Share an Apartment, and Become Your Neighbors

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In a city that never runs out of stories of unusual real estate, Adele Geffen Aile and Judith Seligson have created one of New York’s most unexpected living arrangements.

The 70-somethings I first met in the 1970s were friendly at first, but not necessarily friends.

Mr. Eil, a lawyer, met Mr. Seligson because he worked with Mr. Seligson’s sister. They got together occasionally over the years, after which the women had good reason to become close friends.The two children fell in love, got married, and had two children together.Leah is currently 4 years old and Gabriel is 2 years old.

Ayl and Seligson did what any loving grandparent would do if they had the means. They raised money to rent a pieta terre in the same Fifth Avenue skyscraper as Andrew Aile. Eil’s son, Hannah Seligson, Seligson’s daughter. Along with her husband, her two longtime acquaintances turned roommates live in her 16A, just below her children and grandchildren who live in 16G.

“I remember the day I came to see this apartment. “I walked in the door. I could never have imagined being in such a beautiful apartment.”

Seligson replied: Was it overwhelmed by its beauty, or was it overwhelmed by its horror? But I envisioned this as kind of amazing. “

“Have you seen the outside? It’s incredible,” Ayle says of the panoramic views, including Central Park. They knew from the beginning it would be expensive. “Then we discussed how to make this happen.”

At the time, in late 2019, Seligson said abstract painterand her architect husband Alan Greenberg, Former New York apartmentThey left their primary residence in Alexandria, Virginia. Yet they wanted to see their daughter and grandchildren regularly.

Aile and her husband, Charles Aile, of Providence, Rhode Island, regularly visited Andrew, a climate change consultant, and another son with his family in Brooklyn. But they had nowhere to stay in the city. Hannah, a journalist writing for The Times, later said her floor flat was up for rent. The couple signed a two-year lease.

Did they have reservations that everything might explode and a family feud might start?

“Every bedroom has its own bathroom,” said Eil. “You don’t have to pay attention to other people here.”

Physician Dr. Eil added:

Seligson said of the four:

But are they too close for the kids to be comfortable with? In-laws usually have one of the most difficult family dynamics. In this case, two in-laws live in the hallway.

“People’s heads are spinning when I say my parents and my husband’s parents share an apartment,” Hannah said. The inevitable question she gets from her friend: “So how does it work?”

At first, Andrew said, they tried to formalize the deal to keep the logistics running smoothly. Will he and Hannah do maintenance on the apartment while their parents are away? Pay for internet service? (Yes, yes, it turns out.)

“I explained everything,” he said. Ironically, I sent it to avoid conflicts. Instead, I created conflict. “

“There was a conflict before we lived together,” Hannah said. “I think that was probably the biggest point of tension. After the brutal first months of the pandemic, there was a sense of gratitude to be able to see and visit each other, and it dispersed potential conflicts. “

Growing up close to her own grandparents, Hannah wanted the same for her children. “This has always been my dream,” she said. And of course she and Andrew benefit from all the babysitters and extra spillovers her space.

However, while Hannah and Andrew now share a bedroom wall with their parents, and the only thing separating their apartments is a trash can and an elevator, she revealed that there are limits to intimacy.

“I didn’t want them to move my apartment,” she said with a look akin to horror. “There was a place for everyone to gather. But separate again.

Seligson, 72, and Greenberg, 84, often share two-bedroom apartments, while the Eils, 75, have a third bedroom. A common living area with an open kitchen divides the sleeping wing.

Decorating the place in a mutually agreeable way was not a problem. For the most part, Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Seligson brought modern furniture from their old apartment. A small abstract canvas by Ms. Seligson adorns the living room wall, while a large rug designed after one of her geometric works is the focal point of the room. Seligson and Eil spent the day hanging paintings together and bonded in the process.

As for the Eils, “I have a Fiestaware plate and a Tizio lamp,” Eil said. “I can’t believe I’m in Judy and Alan’s apartment because their stuff is here. I’m really proud of the way the photos are arranged.”

They also arrange themselves.

“Well, Alan is sitting here,” laughed Ms. Eile, pointing to Mr. Greenberg at the head of the table.

“I’m tentative,” Seligson said of object placement. “I always ask, ‘Where can I put it?'”

Mr. Eil interrupted as follows. Every time I come, things are in a different place. I don’t complain. I am very grateful that I was able to rent the apartment. “

Mr. Seligson appeared to have suffered minor injuries. “I rearrange things to probably make them harder to find. That’s what I hear,” she said.

OK, so they that is A person with habits and a sense of tension. Both couples are rarely here at the same time. Usually it’s him a combination of the four, often just Mr. Eil or his Mr. Seligson, and sometimes he’s visited by Eils on weekends when Dr. Eil is off work.

But 16A is the hub for the whole family. The first big gathering at the apartment was for Gabriel’s Bliss in March 2020. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic. The in-laws barely used the apartment during her nine months, but the grandparents were able to see their grandchildren first individually and later in groups. In the days before the vaccine, the building issued rules that only residents could enter. In fact, they were residents.

Two years later, the boundary between 16A and 16G is porous, as evidenced by children’s playtables and toys scattered about. In fact, Seligson calls it the “Annex” because her children and grandchildren often stop by her 16A.

“This is the best I’ve seen in a long time,” laughed Dr. Eile.

Seligson smiled sadly. “It won’t be like this in five hours. Wait until Gabriel comes.”

But it’s okay. That’s what 16A is for.

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