Kenneth Rosa has had a far-from-typical path to building care. “I danced for George Lamond, a freestyle artist,” Rosa says. “We traveled through England, Germany, Ireland – 60,000 people was the most I ever danced for.”
These days his audience is a bit smaller. He’s the superintendent at 355 Riverside Drive, a 40-unit co-op on the Upper West Side. “I wanted a regular job,” he explains, “and I was blessed with a friend calling me. I got into this field in ’93.” Before becoming the super at 355, he’d worked as the porter/handyman at another building for 22 years.
Working as a handyman left Rosa with a strong sense of responsibility. “You want to take care of things before they break,” he says. “Preventive maintenance is dealing with things that can become emergencies.” In his building, for example, the water pump system was ancient. “I had to manually switch the pumps every day,” he says. “It probably could have lasted a year or so, but why do it in a year and wait for something to happen when you could deal with it now?”
The co-op now has a system that turns on the pumps automatically. “Changing the water pump helped the building save money,” Rosa says, pointing to another benefit: “[It also] saved me time so I could do other things. It definitely gives you a little worry-free thought – at least on that part of the building.”
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 in which we reveal the secret lives of buildings.