What makes a great doorman? A security guard's instincts and a mouth that stays shut

By Jennifer Laing  | August 21, 2014 - 3:59PM

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.

For many, a doorman is as essential a New York City necessity as a short commute to the subway or easy access to a deli, coffee bar, dry cleaner and nail salon. It can make the difference between a building they’ll live in and one they won’t even bother checking out. But, as with so many things in life in general and NYC in particular, not all doormen are created equal. According to top NYC brokers, a great doorman:

  1. Makes safety a priority: First and foremost, a doorman is hired to provide security to a building by keeping track of who comes and goes. The best ones learn about their tenants and the building as a whole so they know who to let in (family, friends, Fresh Direct) and who to turn away (random delivery guys with menus to distribute, unwelcome guests).
  2. Is friendly and helpful: A good doorman greets tenants by name, is ready to hop to it and lend a hand with bags and packages and knows when to strike up a conversation and, just as important, when not to engage in idle chit chat.
  3. Goes the extra mile: The best doormen don’t just open doors, they do so much more: Hail cabs, help with packages, hold an umbrella while walking tenants to and from a car in the rain and, possibly, even feeding pets while tenants are away.
  4. Exercises discretion: Let’s face it, doormen are often witnesses to tenants' most private moments. A resident's drunken homecomings at 3 a.m. or temporary string of one-night stands, the nasty fights between tenants and their significant others, the rude and rambunctious kids that tear up a building's hallways? They see it all. But a great doorman can keep his mouth shut.

For more qualities of a doorman extraordinaire, see "5 ways your doorman can help (or hurt) your sale."


Yes, ma'am, the doorman is judging you

"Nothing gets out the smell of affairs"--and other tales from NYC building staff

Is security the main reason to live in a doorman building?

8 ways to get packages without a doorman

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