My mother would throw the keys down to me on occasion. Never used a sock. It was from the 3rd floor; I could catch it on the fly, even though it hurt sometimes. The keys would never break though!
Growing up In Brooklyn and Manhattan, I’ve lived on the 6th floor, the 4th, and the 3rd. I remember the skill it took to throw the keys down to a visitor, or family. This doesn’t work too safely from floors higher than the 8th, but for the lower floors there was a definate art to it. I remember putting the keys into a raggedy (but clean) sock, so that they wouldn’t kill the visitor who invariably insisted on trying to catch it rather than let physics take it’s natural course. Small paper bags were a regular, too. Also the skill of not mis-targeting and landing your set of keys in the gutter grid, down with the NYC rats and their welcome committee. (I lost a handball down there once and was welcomed). Siblings always aimed for your head when you asked them to throw the keys down. The brass or steel they used back then must’ve been a heck of a lot stronger than they are now because they hardly ever broke; considering they were tossed out of the window onto concrete several times a day. Keys nowadays (especially my ignition keys) break after a few months. My folks have keys so old the print has worn off of them.