It’s almost Memorial Day, which means the official start of summer is just around the corner.
For a doorman, that’s good and bad news.
5 great things about summer:
1. R.I.P.: As the city quiets down, so do buildings. There is often just one renovation going on in the building versus 3 or 4 different ones, each with their own construction crew.
Some residents pack up their entire apartments and head for summer homes in the Hamptons or wherever. And with 15+ years on the job I’m entitled to four weeks PAID vacation. Can’t wait for those cold Coronas on the beach.
2. Chilling out: While the outside world swelters, the staff chills out behind closed doors—at least in the fortunate buildings that have A/C’s. In buildings that require a doorman to stand outside, a rotation of sorts may go into effect, where two guys to switch on and off from outside duty.
3. The hotter it gets, the less they wear: Ladies, feel free to stretch out in front of the building--we doormen really don’t mind.
4. Kicked-back attitudes: Residents seem a bit more relaxed. This could be a combination of things from them looking forward to getting away, or freeing themselves from their children who they send away to camp for several weeks, the entire summer, or at least the whole day.
5. Parties: Summer soirees on a resident’s terrace have their perks: We may get invited or someone may bring down some soda, beer or barbecue. Some residents complain about smoke or noise, but less so when a letter goes out beforehand to neighbors on the same floor and above.
5 things not so great about summer:
1. Guests: While the residents are away, their relatives or friends are encouraged to stay and play. Doormen are then subjected to a bevy of questions regarding where is the best Chinese restaurant, movie times, and how to get to the Museum of Natural History. We’re doormen, not tour guides.
2. Temp workers: As the regular staff guys rotate their vacation time, temporary guys fill in. Some act like they’ve been working in a building for ages. Some act like they’re a gift to everyone on earth. That’s probably only because they happen to be Jose’s little brother’s son, or they know the super real well. Thank God it's only for a couple of months.
3. Uniforms: Nothing feels worse than sweat running down your back while wearing a button down shirt. Boy how I wish my building would implement a different dress code or uniform—how about shorts?--for the hotter months. Though we’re inside for the most part, we still go outside to help load and unload cars, assist with luggage, and just do a little sweeping out front.
4. Dog walkers: The same old walkers with the same old dogs, but the stench of what they leave behind is more intense due to the hot, humid air. Queasy anyone? A constant watering down of the sidewalk is in order.
5. Extra favors: Some residents disappear on vacation but leave behind a ton of packages that have to be delivered along with clothes coming back from the dry cleaners.
They’ll politely ask someone at the door if they would be so kind as to bring the stuff up to their apartment. They will ask for someone to water plants, turn on A/C’s, change the filters on humidifiers, save mail that piles up, and change the oil on their vehicle (at least, someone tried asking that of a doorman once).
Sometimes, performance of these favors is added to a resident’s tab and saved up for holiday bonus time.
If not, these little favors can easily net a doorman or any other staff guy anywhere from ten to twenty, maybe even fifty dollars depending on the situation and resident, which can bump them into the “great things about summer” category.
Also from A Doorman Speaks:
Co-op men weirdly helpless at home
I'm your doorman, not your bodyguard
Trouble selling? Cherchez le doorman
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