“A resident collapsed right in the lobby,” recalls Alejandro Brito, doorman at the Chelsea Lane at 16 West 16th Street. “I called the doctor before the ambulance came and was there until they got into the ambulance [and] went and closed their apartment.”
It’s that level of care and consideration that makes Brito so beloved in his building. Originally a porter, Brito sees his job as more than just a career – it’s something closer to a calling.
“A doorman you can see as a guy that gives you a package when you come in, or gives you a message, but doormen go beyond that,” he says. “A doorman is the person that when you come to the building, greets you and makes you feel welcome to your own home.”
Residents agree. “It’s an unbelievable luxury to live in a place where people are there to greet you, and to look out for you,” says one resident. Another recalls how helpful Brito was when her mother was ill: “He’s like part of the family. He helped my mother get a sublet here when she was sick.”
Brito feels the same way. “In New York,” he says, “there’s a lot of people that live alone. I make them secure here. It’s kind of like being a father or older brother for them. I let them know that they’re not alone.”
The Secret Lives of Buildings
What makes New York’s most successful residential buildings run so efficiently? Go online and check out Habitat’s video series where we reveal the secret lives of buildings.