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.
In our ongoing series, 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. In this particular interview, the doorman, who requested anonymity, recounts some of the horrible ways he has been treated on the job:
• Being silenced
“I was working on the east side at a real fancy building. 100 plus units. Old money. I was at the door one night and I said ‘good evening’ to this older woman and she gave me this look of death, looked at me like I was lucky to be alive. I remember her exact words. They were, ‘Who gave you permission to speak to me?’ I was stunned, froze, and she looked at me like I was a piece of dirt. And I said to her, ‘I take that good evening back and I hope you have a horrible day.’ I then told the super don’t call me anymore."
• The big divide
"Some people with all that money think they can abuse you and step on everyone. That building had a big percentage of snobs. Wealthy make you feel like shit. And what’s funny is I told that to the super and he said they do that to everyone.”
• On being insulted
"There was another building I worked at, a big one on the west side, where you had to stand on this line. There was this line on the floor and you had to be on it, you couldn’t move and they were really snobby if you did. Again, the old money.
I was working one night. And this lady was coming in with groceries and I went to help, so I stepped from the line. And then I see, while I’m helping her, an older woman at the door. But she’s just standing there. She’s not moving. She sees me helping this other lady with the groceries.
She then tells me, ‘Your job is to wait for me, I don’t wait for me. Your job is to wait on that line and stand on that line.’ Next day I see her and she says, ‘Take my groceries,’ and I said no, my job is to stand on this line. I then went to the super and said I’m done here.'
The truth is I love the job. I like people. I’ve met thousands of people, actors, diplomats, all kinds. Some treat you like dirt.”
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