Mirsad, 19 E 88th St

Mirsad was born in Montenegro. He has been working as a doorman for 12 years in this neighborhood. Mirsad speaks many languages and his job allows him to practice them with the numerous tourists who populate the area.

He loves New York and takes the number of tourists who come to visit this city every year as a good example of its uniqueness. Finding a job here is way easier than anywhere else. In his opinion, doormen are one of the main reason why this city never sleeps : they keep it that way.

When he is not working, Mirsad runs : at least 6 miles per day, from his home to work in the morning and the way back at night. He already ran 3 Marathons, including one in Boston. He says it is a great way to see the city in action. Even when he has personal problems, running through New York and watching people go by makes him feel better about it.

What he prefers about New York is the raw energy that keeps people going. In his case, running.

Antonio, 922 5th Av

Antonio was born in the Philipines and arrived in New York 13 years ago. His family came along so he always felt at home here. He has been working as a doorman for 8 years now.

His relationship with the tenants is pretty close and friendly but at the same time distant and respectful. It can seem paradoxical, but not to a doorman.
The time of the year he most enjoys is Christmas, because the atmosphere in the building becomes warmer and he often exchanges gifts with the tenants and their families.
His building being located on the so-called Museum Mile, he helps out many tourists each day, giving them directions and infos about the various museums of the neighborhood. That is why sometimes he almost feels like a tourist guide.

Before becoming a doorman, he worked in catering. He still works part-time as a chef. Mainly to gather enough benefits for his pension years.

If he could move in another country, he would choose Venice, Italy. He has already been there and had a great time. The mysterious old city seems to be holding some kind of ancient secrets.
And at night, when you are in the San Marco Place, he says you can actually feel the past.

Giovanni, 230 E 15th St

Giovanni has been the building's doorman for 4 years. What he prefers is helping people out wih their daily problems, especially the older ones. A lot of the tenants have become friends over the years.

Born and raised in Queens, he now lives in Manhattan with his fiancée. His favorite time of the year is during winter, when it starts snowing. Hanging out on weekends is one of his hobbies, even though the car trafic can sometimes complicate things.

Doorman is a good job for students, because they have enough time left for school. Currenly studying physical therapy, he hopes to find a position in this area when he graduates. The routine that comes with being a doorman make the days go by faster.

Having travelled in various cities across the country, he would not want to live in another city. He just likes New York better.

His plans for the future involve his fiancée. Giovanni is getting married in a few months.

Oleh, 145 E 15th St

Oleh has been working for 5 months in the same building. He sees his job as a good opportunity to interact with people, some of which have become his friends.

He was born in the Ukraine and lives in New York since 1999. His work is in Manhattan but he lives in a residential neighborhood in Brooklyn.
New York is a convenient city, because everything is in walking distance. The only negative aspect of New York would be the smell of garbage in the streets, especially after a night of rain.

Currently a Cadet in the US Air Force Academy, Oleh would like to attend a flight school after his college years, to serve as a pilot.
If he could live somewhere else, he would move to Aviano, Italy. He very much enjoyed his time there, in an Air Force Base.

His best memory as a doorman would have to be the day where people from the building got married. They came home with lots of friends and family.
The husband had to carry his wife through each door. And lift her 3 times.

Robert, 222 E 20th St

Robert has been working as a doorman for 4 years in the same building and loves it there.
He was born and raised in the State of New York, and now lives above New York City.

He feels good in NY, where he can find the best pizzas in the world. The only downside to living in NY he could find is the omnipresence of crowds in the streets and in the subway.

When he has time, he enjoys a good swim or an afternoon of fishing.

He has German and Italian origins, and considers himself a proud American. Having travelled quite a lot, he can not see why he would live in any other country. Maybe he would move to Florida, because of the weather.

He has served as a Marine and cherishes the freedom and democracy he has in America.
In his opinion, the United States of America are the greatest country on earth.

He even has the American Eagle and flag tatooed on his arm.

Juan, 60 W 66th St

Juan has been working as a doorman for 3 and a half years, and 2 months in this building. He was born in the Dominican Republic and came to New York 13 years ago, where his parents were already living.

If it was not for the rent of his Brooklyn apartment, he would see no downside to living in New York.
What he likes the most about his job is joking around with his colleagues and helping the tenants out, for example when they need something to be fixed in their apartments. It makes him feel useful.

When he is not working, he spends time with his children and works out. He was a high level baseball player until he got injured. Since his injury, he only plays softball as an amateur, mostly with his kids.
Although the recession is not something that obsesses him, the tips are getting scarcer, so he feels affected by it.

In the distant future, he would like to have a clothing business and be his own boss. He also would not mind moving to Paris. He saw it on TV : it is beautiful.

Joel, 295 Park Avenue

Joel has been working in the building for 3 months. He loves the architecture of the surroundings and is very positive about the city. He likes that he can actually help people in his job, with their mail or dry cleaning for example. The only downside of New York in his opinion is the commuting, which sometimes makes him late for work. And he hates that.

Joel was born in the Dominican Republic but came to New York when he was a kid. He always lived in Manhattan.
He experienced some amusing situations in this buiding. For example when someone came down, half naked, to ask for a spare set of keys because he or she got locked out of the apartment.

He does not know yet what he wants to do after his studies. Drawing is something he is very good at. Art has always been the class where he got his best grades. Some teachers told him to stick to it. But right now, he is thinking of a Law career, maybe District Attorney or lawyer. He is going back to college in the Fall so in the meantime, he just copes with life, to see what happens.
If teachers tell him once again to stick to Art, maybe he will.

Henry, 171 W 71 St

Henry was born in San Francisco, Dominican Republic. He came to New York 26 years ago and has been working in the same building for 8 years.

People from his building are gentle and friendly, although he thinks it is important to maintain a certain distance between him and them. His best times as a doorman are spent whith his colleagues, when they all have breakfast or dinner together.

Job opportunities are great, but the City is not clean enough. His home is in Brooklyn, in a nice and green neighborhood, where he feels out of the city. He likes living there because there are not any high buildings.
If he had to move somewhere, it would be to Florida, for the sunny weather and the open spaces.

After he retires, he wants to go back to his first business : his clothing store.

Michael, 5th Av and 69th St

Michael has been working for 2 years in the building. Before that he worked as an elevator operator, not far away. He was born in Brooklyn but his Puerto Rican family moved a lot around New York.

He is proud of being a New Yorker because of how colourful and different people are in this city. As a doorman, he enjoys seeing the city as it is moving and living. However, the traffic can make it difficult to order a taxi for a resident.

Right now, he is putting a CD together. If he was to move from New York, he would live in North Carolina, where he did his US Army training a few years ago. He met country type people and liked it a lot.

His strongest memory as a doorman, by far, was the day when a couple got robbed naked in Central Park and found refuge in his lobby. He called the Police and gave them something to cover themselves. They were shocked, but grateful.
Michael says that these sorts of situations often happen to doormen.

William, 11 Madison Park

William has been in the building for 5 and a half years. Before that, he served as a reservist in the Marine Corps, worked as an architectural designer, a mechanical engineer and an artist.

He was brought up in Manhattan, but recently moved to the Bronx. His family came from the Ukraine.

He did various exhibitions where his photographs, collages and assemblages were shown.
He loves the cultural variety of New Yorkers, the numerous theatres and jazz clubs. He plans on doing another show in New York, after he gets his art work back from his ex-wife. Sicily, Italy, is a place where he would love to live, because of their simple life style.

After three marriages, he now lives with his cat. The name of the cat is Sophia Laurenski, as his favorite actress was Sophia Lauren. But he thought her name did not sound Polish enough.

Cesar, 222 E 44th

Cesar was born and raised in Queens. He has been a doorman for almost 3 years. This job is only a transition for him.

What he likes about his job is the tight friendship that exists between him and some of the people who work in his building. Sometimes he goes out to grab a beer or two with some of them. As his building hosts a TV show, he even gets to meet celebrities.

The variety of cultures, backgrounds and people make New York a city he loves. If it was not for the stressful commuting and trafic, he would not mind living there longer.
Cesar has traveled a lot : through California, Alabam, Mississipi and many other places. But he always came back to New York.

In the near future, he is moving to Florida, to live with his girlfriend. His other plans include various things like living in Australia. And studying Zoology.

Giovanni, 1 W 64th

Giovanni was born in the Dominican Republic. He came to New York when he was 3 years old.
He has been working as a doorman for almost 2 years, part-time.

His home is in East Harlem, but he hates living in a ghetto full of gangs, fights and all sorts of drama. His familiy is spread all over town, in the Bronx, Queens and Harlem.
If he could live somewhere else, he would definitely move to Santiago, Dominican Republic.

He considers the people living in his building as friends. Not good or bad ones, just friends. Despite that, he still does not understand why people insist on bringing their problems to him. The two things he loves the most about his job are helping people, and the money he makes.

In his opinion, New York has one big upside : liberty. You can wear whatever you want, and love whoever you want. And no one cares.

Robert, 515 West End Av

Robert was born and raised in New York. He has been working for 31 years as a doorman and for 29 years in the same building. During this period, he could see some of the kids grow up to be college students or even get to know some of the residents' families.

He feels at home in his building, but his real home is in Harlem. Even though their are upsides and downsides to every neighborhood, he enjoys living there with his family.

What he loves most about New York is the fact that everything is always available. The noise and the trafic get on his nerves, especially when he has to stand on the sidewalk or take the train to go home. Concerning the weather, he considers it is not an issue, as all New Yorkers have to put up with it.

Nevertheless, if he had to move, he would go to sunny California.

Carlos, 160 W 66th

Carlos was born in Peru. He came to New York in 1982.
First he did various cleaning jobs. He then learned how to make pizzas and worked as a Pizzaiolo for 10 years.

He has been a doorman for 18 years, but that is not all. Being a Deacon in a Catholic Church, he spends all his spare time helping out his community.
During all those years in New York, the thing that bothered him the most was feeling discriminated for his origins.

He is retiring next year. Even though he enjoys living in the Bronx, he will move to Costa Rica. Where his wife is waiting for him.

Robert, 630 Park Avenue

Robert came to New York 22 years ago. He grew up on a farm in Peja, Kosovo. Although he misses the nature of his hometown, he considers New York as his home.

Robert has been working as a doorman for 2 years. He hates the crowded streets and the trafic jams of Manhattan. Maybe one day he will move to the suburbs.
Or back to Kosovo, if the situation improves.
The views and words expressed in this blog do not reflect the views of the Blogger but those of the interviewed doormen.