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art-of-style-kit-mills-blue-stoop-untapped-citiesStoopin’ and starin’

The art and science of sitting on a city stoop is a delicate one. If it’s your own stoop, you can lounge with proprietary pride, sitting at eye-level with passerby while you smoke or take a phone call or stare at your neighbors’ windows. If it isn’t your own stoop, however, you rest uneasily. There’s nothing technically wrong with parking yourself on someone else’s stoop for a few minutes, but it still feels like you’re intruding. When an actual resident opens the front door to come down the steps, do you smile? Apologize? Sheepishly explain that your feet hurt and you just needed to sit for a minute but it’s fine you can leave? Jump up and pretend you hadn’t just been taking up a bunch of space that didn’t belong to you? Ignore them and keep staring at your phone? (This one is the New York Way.) What is the Emily Post stance on stoop appropriation? Inquiring minds and tired butts want to know.

Whether legitimate stoop-havers or not, you can find plenty of interesting-looking people resting upon these oft-debated steps. While walking around in the East Village (a wonderland of stoops) this weekend, the soft, beachy color palette this person was wearing was the first thing I noticed. Combined with the delicate pattern on the gauzy scarf, her outfit reminded me of traditional Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. A buzzing white iPhone fit right into the color theme, while her sandy halo of hair complemented the blue.

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From the unconcerned body language, I’m guessing she was a legitimate resident of the building to which this stoop belonged, but who knows. In a city with so many people and so few quiet spaces, you have to make whatever space you’re sitting in your own, at least for a few minutes.

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