20 Years of Friendship With the Woman Across the Hall

20 Years of Friendship With the Woman Across the Hall

  • “I used to joke and say, ‘If I died in my apartment, I knew that Barbara was the person who would find me.’”

This week she talks with two women who have been neighbors in the same New York City apartment building for 20 years. They live alone and have always looked out for each other—but their connection has been extra important to them during the pandemic. In this interview, they reminisce about their years living across the hall from each other, share their pandemic habits, and reflect on what it means to know your neighbors.

The Friends:

barbara gold, 84, a retired hospital administrator who lives in New York City
nandita shenoy, 48, an actor and a playwright who lives in New York City

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Julie Beck: You’ve been neighbors for 20 years—do you remember how you met and what your first impressions of each other were?

Barbara Gold: I had been living in the building before Nandita moved in, and I was very glad to have her as a neighbor because the people that had lived there before were not very friendly. I didn’t actually spend that much time at home [at the time] because I worked long hours, but I was very happy to see a nice young lady move in.

Nandita Shenoy: I bought the apartment in 2000, with the money I had saved after a year and a half on the road with The King and I. I was very proud of my accomplishment. I don’t remember the first time that I met Barbara, but I remember her always saying hello and asking me if I needed anything. Because I’m an actor, I have spent periods of time outside the apartment. So I would ask Barbara to keep an eye out if I wasn’t going to be there. We just followed the rhythms of each other’s lives for all these years.