Young, single, female apartment dwellers often complain about doormen who seem a little too interested in their comings and goings, particularly when guests of the opposite sex are involved. But in a recent essay, NY Times 'Big City' columnist Susan Dominus reveals that she did not exactly chafe under the supervision of her former doormen-slash-elevator-operators.
Instead, she describes with eloquent precision the tangible and intangible support served up by the staff of the Murray Hill apartment building that she, along with dozens of other single women in their studio abodes, called home in her pre-married late 20s. Of the staff, for which Dominus says she spent about a day each year choosing and inscribing cash-stuffed holiday cards, she recalls:
"If I had a jar I could not open, I buzzed for the elevator. If my toaster oven caught on fire, I buzzed for the elevator. If I had an early flight, I would ask Matthew to ring my apartment door at 4 or 5, a more welcome waking than a clock. And when I came rushing back to my apartment the morning of 9/11, it was Robert who took me to the roof, against building rules, so we could stare, with our own unbelieving eyes, at what had happened.....
I never confided in the men who worked in the building, nor did they confide in me. But they provided a steady reassurance that made my arrival feel like a homecoming, instead of an arrival home. In return, I gave them notes at Christmas that thanked them, but not for the right things, which would have embarrassed us all. And, of course, I tipped them."