Elevator Man

In this UES co-op, residents come in 3 varieties

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In the Upper East Side building where I run the elevator, there are three basic kinds of people: The nice ones, the needy ones, and the ridiculously nasty ones.

As an employee it is good to know who’s who so you can avoid the nasty shareholders and keep out of trouble while bonding with the ones who make life easy.

As a resident it’s not a bad idea to know where you fit in either: We building workers make life easier for those who make our lives easier. It's a round trip ride.

But in case you’re having trouble figuring where you stand--and especially if you’re in the nasty category, you are probably short on self-awareness along with empathy--here are some clues:

You are NICE if:

  • You had to work hard for your success and did not grow up in the lavish lifestyle.
  • You make it a point to greet all the employees and carry on friendly conversations on the elevator
  • You can and do live without 24 hour service, often carrying your own luggage and groceries, often giving me a break by taking the service elevator or the stairs, and maybe even by mailing your own mail.
  • You rarely complain, and when you do, you have just cause.


You are NEEDY if:

  • You think of  me as your personal servant in addition to being an elevator operator. It may not be your fault that you are like this, and you may be very nice about it. But…
  • ...this sounds like something you would do:

    Ring: “Can you please mail these letters for me.”

    (five minutes elapse)

    Ring: “Do you know if it’s nice or not outside?”

    (an hour later)

    Ring:  “Can you help me move a piece of furniture? It’s heavy.”


You are just plain NASTY if:

  • You purposely ring my elevator as you are passing by, possibly on your way to the service elevator
  • Your predictably obnoxious kids also like to ring the elevator a ton of times unnecessarily
  • You ask me to do something you KNOW isn’t part of my job—not like the little old ladies who don’t get it
  • You make smug remarks about my appearance when I sport different haircuts or try a different style of facial hair.
  • Once in a while you do something nice, like buy an expensive stroller for a doorman who is about to become a dad, leaving all of us to wonder if maybe you have a heart after all. 

Also from Elevator Man:

Why I have sex at work

Going down: Confessions of an elevator man

How I became an elevator jockey

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