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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 (or, rather, doorwoman): Gloria
Building: 1255 Fifth Avenue
Years logged on the job: 15
Age: “53 or 54. I stopped counting.”
Born: East Harlem (119th and 2nd!)
Home: Washington Heights
Her workplace: 1255 has all the markings of the grand neo-classical 5th avenue buildings, except for its height. Reaching only eight floors, there's not a lot to see above the tree line. Still, there's much to appreciate in this circa-1925, 59-unit charmer, especially the woman with the smile greeting you at the door!
How she got her start: “My brother used to work here. Then I applied.”
On the gender gap: “I’m the only female working at the building. No others, just me.”
The perks: “I like it. It’s comfortable. No stress. We work like family. The tenants and workers are nice, no problem, no complaints.”
Her title: “I’m a door person.”
A word of advice for up-and-coming doorpeople: "Good attitude. Always. Have a good sense of humor. Just to have a nice attitude and be respectful. Everything is nice and easy.”
Girl power: “The hard work they (men) do, we do every day in the house. We carry bags and boxes. We do everything, so there’s no difference at all. Being a door person, we do everything. It’s not like sitting behind a desk. It’s work.”
To add to the suggestion box: “They should hire more women.”
Future plans: “I don’t want to go back to Puerto Rico... I’ll keep working until I retire.”
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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