Doormen might be a dime a dozen in New York City, but the good ones are rare. If you polled New Yorkers about how happy they are with their doormen, I’d be interested to hear what they have to say. (Something tells me the results would be less than favorable, for the most part.)
Here are 10 things that all doormen should do, and therefore, every NYC denizen living in a concierge building should expect these from the man tending to their front door.
1. Be polite at all times.
A doorman is paid to be polite, pleasant, and cordial. (This could be the most challenging aspect of a doorman’s job.) Granted, everyone has a bad day here and there, but even then, a great doorman will smile and say hello to every person who walks in and out of a building.
2. Man the door.
This one is obvious, but you’d be surprised how often doors are left unattended, at least in my building. I understand that nature calls, but if that happens, at the very least, a doorman should lock the door to the building, or get a porter or someone else to cover. And, in this case, residents should own a key to their front door to always have access.
3. Open the door.
Opening and closing a door all day long probably gets tiresome, but again, a doorman is expected to handle this mundane task. Taking a catnap while apartment dwellers struggle with groceries or other packages as they come home from a long workday isn’t exactly part of the job description for concierge. Get off the butt and get to work.
4. Know everyone’s name.
Remembering several hundred names isn’t easy (I would definitely fail since remembering names isn’t my strong suit, even if I’ve just met you), but knowing who lives in what apartment is very important, which brings me to the next point.
5. Know who’s home.
A doorman should keep track of who’s coming and going, who’s in their apartment, and who’s not. (This part of the job requires a good memory but knowing each resident helps too.)
6. Accept packages.
Logging in UPS, FedEx, and USPS packages is part of a doorman’s job, so knowing which apartment and tenant/shareholder gets which package is essential. Many buildings now use Building Link, which is an effective online portal that sends the recipient an email when a package has been delivered. Still, the doorman is responsible for entering the correct information.
7. Get instructions right.
When I leave town and have a pet-sitter or family staying in my apartment, I give a key and instructions to the doorman on duty. I trust that all of my doormen will know who can enter my unit and on which days. And since we have day doormen and night doormen, I want to be sure that each one will know what’s going on in my apartment, as they should.
8. Help you get a cab.
Cabs in New York can be hard to come by at times, and I’m not sure what it is, but doormen have a knack for flagging them down.
9. Call when visitors arrive.
Although it’s another given, I can’t tell you how many times a delivery person has shown up at my apartment door with hot Thai food in hand, yet I didn’t receive a call from my doorman. Yes, I know I called for delivery, but that’s beside the point. New York is a big city with its share of crazy criminals, and having a doorman is a luxury that should ensure a higher level of comfort and safety.
10. Stay out of personal business.
A doorman should know when to chat and when to keep quiet. He shouldn’t get involved in family quarrels or personal conversations, even if he hears them. Your doorman will know enough about you (probably more than you’d like), and he will see you at your worst (when you’re sick, without makeup, and hung over). Do you really want him to catch you in the middle of a lovers’ quarrel? Bear in mind, apartment residents should try and keep private matters private and discuss behind closed doors whenever possible.