Door to Door

A Morningside Heights doorman says goodbye to his tenants after 36 years on the job

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Doormen—and increasingly, doorwomen–are arguably the most iconic personalities in New York City real estate, often playing a role that's midway between building security and therapist. They see us at our best and worst (and most shopping-addicted and takeout-dependent), as we venture out on our first dates and first days of school and work (and, too, the last), and are the first people we see when we get home and begin to finally shed the armor we don everyday to do battle out there in this big, brash city. 

Columnist Gabriel Falcon, who's been chronicling his meetups with doormen on Facebook, introduces us to the men and women who are the gatekeepers of many of the city's rental buildings and co-ops. 

• Today’s doorman: Manny

A man of few words, January 16 was Manny's last day at work. He is known for his salute, smile, and fastball, and will be missed by generations of tenants. (The cake above, presented at his send-off, was baked by one of his in-building fans.) And he will miss them. “They are the best," he says. "I love them. I will miss everyone.”

• Building: 545 West 111th Street, co-op

• Years on his feet: 36

• Shift: Day and night

• Age: 62

• Hails from: Puerto Rico

• Home: The Bronx

• On getting the job: "It was from a friend. I started June 1, 1979.”

• On the tenants: “They are all my friends. I love everybody.”

• His plans for retirement: “Relax, take it easy.”

• The neighborhood, it's been a-changing: “When I started, it was a little bad. Now it’s good.”

• What he does when he's not working: “I love to paint.”

• Life before he became the building's gatekeeper: “I played AA. I was a pitcher. I could pitch 85 to 90 miles an hour.”

Gabriel Falcon began his career as a dancing taco bell on The Dana Carvey Show. He has been a staff writer and producer for Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan and The Today Show. He is currently an executive producer for Al Jazeera. A native New Yorker, he and his family reside in Morningside Heights.


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