There are many advantages to a life in New York City. There is the obvious stuff—Broadway theater, great food, museums, tree-lined streets, Central Park, —and let’s not forget the reason so many of us come here to begin with—opportunity. But there are other aspects of the New York life, that as a jaded New Yorker we tend to take for granted. The biggest of these in my opinion is “convenience”. In a service-driven community like Manhattan, some of us are lucky enough to have the ultra-convenience, the greatest desire of most anyone living an urban life——“A Doorman”.
During our search for the “perfect, less than one million dollars” apartment, we saw many buildings that were “Non-Doorman” or “Part-time Doorman”. And honestly, we would have been quite content to own a piece of real estate in one of those co-ops. But for the price, this building included a doorman. So you may ask–what does a doorman really do? Sit at the door and be sure that no one follows you inside? Well I gotta say after four years here, doormen do a heck of a lot. And they are probably extremely unappreciated–not by me personally, but in general.
You see, a doorman does much more than provide service. Of course, they hold the front door open, help you with your luggage, load and unload the car or taxi, hold the elevator button while you fetch the mail, and take your packages and store them safely until you can claim them. They may walk your dog, feed your cat or fish, or even move your car to avoid the traffic police. I could go on and on about that stuff. Although these things matter a great deal, they are in a sense, the icing on the cake.
|Doorman in action|
A doorman will smile and say “hello” or “goodbye” each day—-every time you come and go. They are always in a good mood, whether they want to be or not. They are terrific listerners! They will talk to you about most anything–the weather, your child’s new toy, your dog, your dog’s poop, your child’s poop, (that may be crossing the line) your new hairstyle, or what you are cooking for dinner. The best doorman knows when you are having a bad day. They watch your children grow up, and see your pets age and die before you do (hopefully). Many have provided 10, 20, or even 30 years of service. Essentially, the men who greet us each day, (and most buildings have multiples)–(day, night, overnight), have seen it all!
They see you in pajamas, without any make-up, sweaty and stinky after a run, when you are fighting with your significant other, or making out with them in the elevator. They are trustworthy, honorable, hardworking, and loyal.
Some individuals live alone for much of their lives. Life can be lonely anywhere, but especially in the big city. A talk with a doorman may be the only conversation some New Yorkers will have all day, or all week for that matter. They become friends and members of the family.
I have read a story where a doorman actually intervened when a tenant was followed into a building and was going to be attacked. He risked his life to protect her. I have also been told by a doorman himself that he cannot reveal the things that he has been told or seen in his years at the door. Kind of like a priest or a psychiatrist I guess… Who can you trust these days? I guess your doorman…
So as I run up and down Broadway, shopping for food, wine, make-up, toiletries, and other daily necessities, (wine is a necessity for me), I am fortunate enough to be able to run back to West End (which is just a block off B’way), when the bags get too heavy for me to handle. I am greeted by Omar, Jimmy, or Claudio, or one of our other terrific guys, and they graciously take my packages and keep them in the lobby until I return–15 or 30 minutes later with more.
They load it all in the elevator, and make my life easier.
On the flip side, having a doorman is not for everyone. Some would rather forfeit the service and the holiday tips, be private, and avoid those awkward moments of indecency.
Now that I have lived with a doorman for 4 plus years, can I imagine life without it?
I can. But right now, I don’t have to. I’ll be living here a little while longer.