The Look Book Goes to a Doorman Union Meeting

Members of SEIU 32BJ, who work in buildings from Park Avenue to Washington Square.

Cesar Fabiani, 730 Park Ave., three years working as a doorman. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

What’s an average day like?
A lot of getting cabs. We have elevator men, so they give us a heads-up that a shareholder is coming down and then I bolt to the door to get them a car. My dad works across the street as a doorman at 740 Park, which people call the Tower of Power; we trade tricks on how to get cabs faster. I recently bought this $500 floodlight — it’s literally meant for search and rescue — so if a shareholder is coming down at night, I’ll flash it into the sky. That gets cabs quicker than sticking your hand in the air.

Have you ever had someone try to get into the building?
Yes, once. This guy comes in looking for “Miranda.” But we don’t have anyone in the building named Miranda. Suddenly, he grabs one of my elevator men. That’s when I grabbed him. Brought him down to the ground and told him to take it easy. We called the cops, and let me tell you, the cops come very fast in this neighborhood. I live in Queens, and well — let’s just say they don’t come quite as fast there. And with an ambulance, the Fire Department, the whole thing, too. So yeah, after that, the only Miranda he got in touch with was his Miranda rights.

Joseph Fournier, 1365 York Ave., 23 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

What is the strangest thing that’s happened at work?
One time a young gentleman went to dump his garbage in the nude and his door self-locked behind him. He came down to the lobby naked and said, “I need the keys. I’m locked out.”

Joseph Alvarez, 410 E. 57th St., 23 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Jonathan Viera, 55 Central Park W., 12 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Gregory Mayford, 205 W. 57th St., 23 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Sycelina Budhu, 211 Madison Ave., 14 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

Are there many doorwomen?
No. When I started, only about 100 out of 3,000 or so citywide. I know it’s a man’s world — doormen, you know — but residents tell me all the time how happy they are to come downstairs and see a woman’s face.

Rudy Gonzalez, 1040 Park Ave., 24 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Duilio Bini, 2 Washington Square Village, 49 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
George Rogers, 473 West End Ave., 24 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

What’s your favorite part of the job?
The kids. They’re, as my mother would say, a delight. Even if they’re rotten to you. Even if they stick their noses in the air.

James Sabater, 17 W. 54th St., 29 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Michael Cartegena, 118 E. 60th St., 32 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

How’d you get your current job?
It was January 9, 1988. Snowing hard. The super said, “You came in the snow for your interview? The job is yours.”

John R. Donnelly, 15 W. 72nd St., 12 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Gilbert Rivera, 700 Park Ave., 18 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Ladanys Sosa, 225 Rector Pl., 19 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Bill Henri, 215 W. 91st St., 20 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Joe Soto, 141 E. 89th St., 21 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Yaphia Pabon, 135 E. 79th St., three years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
David Alvarez, 390 West End Ave., 32 years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz
Salvatore Sferruzza, 530 E. 72nd St., five years. Photo: Kyle Dorosz

Are there many pets in your building?
Yes, and what’s mind-boggling is the way they deal with their pets up here.
I’ve seen people carry their dogs over a puddle. Before I worked here, I’d sure never seen a pair of doggy booties.

*This article appears in the December 9, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

The Look Book Goes to a Doorman Union Meeting