As a general rule, New York is a city where everyone knows a ton of people, but nobody knows their neighbors. There are good reasons for this. It's risky getting to know people you can't escape. I got to know my neighbor in apartment 3 very well.
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Falling out with your neighbors can mean more than just uncomfortable meetings in the hallway or front yard, added stress and sleepless nights. When Richard Laermer and his partner moved into a Manhattan co-op, his next-door neighbor invited them over to dinner. After that, things got really bad. As Laermer discovered, a bitter neighbor has the power to sue you over anything from a barking dog to street parking.
And the more anonymous they are, the more elaborate the backstories we can project onto them. The guy down the hall who keeps odd hours? Must be a drug dealer. The couple who hosts Sunday-night parties while the shower seems to be running? Those are obviously shower orgies.