Odds are, the staff down the block knows your business too

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I once wrote a post about building gossip and how staff guys sometimes talk to each other about certain residents.

But the gossip doesn’t always stay in the building.

It’s common for supers, handymen, porters and doormen to be friendly with their counterparts from across the street, next door and even down the block.

These types of friendships throughout the years help out in many ways.

For instance, during a blizzard, one super or doorman might help out another by shoveling the same sidewalk together. Or one super may need to borrow a particular tool or machinery that another super might have.

Now take this kind of camaraderie inside the lobby, where the doormen are. From a wave hello or goodbye, to one doorman on a store run asking a doorman from another building if he is thirsty, to inquiring about a certain someone that lives in a building.

While the most intimate of details for many residents may reside within the walls of one building and its staff, I may nevertheless personally know your story if you live down the block, particularly if you are:

  • Cheap: Yep. The guys from two blocks down already know who’s good with cash, or who clenches onto it not wanting to give it up for any reason whatsoever.
  • A nut job: If you smell, talk to yourself, feed pigeons, push animals in strollers, or simply stroll around at night wearing a netted leotard with an ancient transistor radio/headphones on your ears, you better believe doormen from even three blocks down have been warned. We already know to look the other way and pretend to be busy doing something else, avoiding eye contact for fear of an unwanted conversation with this person. Many times this has nothing to do with our personal feelings, but rather with trying to keep our residents happy by shooing away unwanted visitors from the front doors, stoop, lobby etc. It's all about the image.
  • A next-door poop-stoop dropper: If you let Fido relieve himself in front of buildings other than your own, we see you. Expect to hear a verbal reminder to curb your dog and clean up after it. Sometimes we may even complain to your building staff.  Simply, “curb the animal” is all anyone really asks for. Because even if you do pick up afterward, we might wind up cleaning up some remnants that get stuck on the bottom of someone's shoe and walked into our building.
  • Hot: Those single and even married women with smooth legs and tight buns? Yes, everybody on the block knows about them. (We also know the dapper dons with the insatiable appetite for some different arm candy every week.)

Now all of this is not to say that other building staff are not aware of some of the neighborhood good Samaritans, or people of all ages who seem to say hello all the times, nannies from other buildings who come to visit another working in my building, dog walkers, and some people who may not be as quick on their feet or maybe handicapped.

Odds are these people will be given an extra hand by any doorman on any given day or night. Even if they don’t reside in the building. (Consider the resident who gave a Christmas tip to a doorman from another building. That doorman later found out that the resident’s own building staff were stiffed on the holidays that year.)

On the flip side, if you have a bad rep in your own building, there’s a good chance your reputation has preceded you--and the helping hands of neighboring staff will tend not to make an appearance in your hour of need.

Other A Doorman Speaks columns:

I'm your doorman, not your bodyguard

If you think your trash is private, think again

Co-op men weirdly helpless at home

See all A Doorman Speaks here.

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