Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: I live in a NYC doorman building. Do I really need to lock my apartment door?

By Dianne Ackerman  | April 26, 2019 - 12:00PM


My friend says I am nuts because I leave the door to my NYC apartment unlocked. The way I see it, the doorman keeps out intruders, so the entire building is secure at all times. Who’s right? Signed, Blissfully Relaxed in NYC

Dear Blissful,

You are a person of my own heart. I also leave my door unlocked during the day but do close it (sometimes, like when I remember) if I am away for any duration or at night. I go in and out of my place a dozen times a day, to the incinerator, the laundry room, the roof deck or to visit my upstairs neighbor. I run out for a cup of coffee or the newspaper, or cash from the ATM. Why would I want to keep locking and unlocking my door?

However, here’s a cautionary tale: Years ago, I found a delivery person outside my door with food I had not ordered. My doorman (a very elderly man, now long dead) had seen the correct apartment number on the bag but didn’t realize the address was across the street. The doorman buzzed my intercom just as the delivery man was ringing my doorbell. Fortunately, he just left, but I could not help but imagine the headline: Elderly woman murdered by delivery person in doorman building.

One more word of caution: I read in the paper a few weeks ago that an intruder broke into a woman’s apartment on 65th and First Avenue, and she woke up to find the intruder licking her face. When I told my doorman that story, he said the guy would have had to lick his face first before he ever got to me. But still, I think you get my point.

So, lock up the next time you take a two-week vacation or want to sleep “lick free” but, otherwise, I am with you. The doormen are there to keep you secure.   

Ms. Demeanor

Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.


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