There’s no doorman, gym, or rooftop garden at the Atria Apartments on 71st Avenue and 159th Street, but the unusually large number of frum young couples with children gives it a special feel. “The hallways here are truly special, long and carpeted, ideal for racing in toy cars,” said resident Avraham Aidelson. “This is our open space. The hallway belongs to the children.”
But after receiving complaints from a couple of cranky neighbors on third floor, Aidelson and his neighbors were told to keep their children inside their apartments at all times. “They accuse us of illegally occupying the hallway. Wherever Jews live, we are occupiers,” he said.
“First they said our children can’t play in the hall; next they’ll tell us that we can’t daven in the hall. This hall is our public space.” Seeking to prevent further restrictions on the use of the carpeted hallway, Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal, a resident of the Atria, sponsored legislation to declare the building as a special zoning district. “Whether its Chani building her dollhouse for everyone to see or Yehudah Tzvi illustrating the walls with his crayon art, these hallways are special and deserve to remain public. The apartments here are tiny as it is; the families here are bursting out the doors. These hallways are vital to my fellow residents.”