Confessions of NYC's High-End Building Doormen

doorman confessions
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

"You really think you’re better than me, don’t you?" a uniformed doorman calls out after Jerry as he leaves the apartment Elaine is house-sitting in the classic Seinfeld episode "The Doorman." Soon duped into becoming the doorman himself, Jerry realizes the job -- opening the door for people, recognizing them as residents, and not intruding on their daily lives -- is a lot harder than it appears.

Doormen may be the most underrated powerful people in New York. Serving as the unofficial social anthropologists of New York’s most privileged -- and often most oblivious -- doormen are filled with anecdotes of terrible human behavior. Unable to distract themselves with books or even phones (though occasionally some will sneak them in), doormen who stay up through the night have their eyes on everything and everyone at pretty much all times. Of course, most of these elite doormen are bound to strict NDAs forbidding them from publicly sharing any of the shocking behavior they witness, but we were able to track down some of the best (anonymous) stories for you to enjoy.

Doormen know who you're sleeping with

“I’ve seen spouses cheat on each other with younger people and look me in my face and introduce someone as a nephew or niece coming to visit. Don’t make me an accessory to your adultery. Just go upstairs and leave me alone” -- Anonymous Midtown East doorman

“I discovered this man (a married father of two) was having an affair with another woman. The next month, I found out his wife was also seeing someone on the side. Of course, one night stands are always amusing, especially since I get to see either the beginning or final legs of the walk of shame.” -- Anyonyous Upper East Side doorman, sourced from Reddit

The trash is literally filled with treasures

“Got a full bottle of alcohol once, which was great for a 18 year old me (I still think they were giving it to me since they were pretty young and the people I talked to the most at the time.) Some vinyl records, a huge stuffed lion I gave to my sister, and a pretty cool painting.” -- Anonymous Upper West Side doorman, sourced from Reddit

Unexpected guests may pop in for the night

“I work near a strip of bars [on the Upper West Side], so I deal with a lot of pretty messed-up people asking to use the bathroom. One time somebody fell asleep in one of the vestibules that I was working in. I just let him sleep it off for about an hour and then woke him up and told him he had to go home. You know, if I was that messed-up, I would want somebody to at least let me sleep a little bit. It’s a common courtesy.” -- Anonymous Upper West Side doorman

You'll see some pretty deplorable behavior

“3 years ago I've seen a woman fire a nanny because she was diagnosed with breast cancer, citing it as an ‘undue hardship’ for her, the employer.” -- Anonymous Upper East Side doorman, sourced from Reddit

You may get some X-rated entertainment

“There’s an apartment with a window facing where I stand [in Midtown]. The lady used to get naked [in front of it] and the couple would have sex in front of the window, they didn’t care. Everybody knew!” -- Anonymous Midtown doorman

Childhood dreams can be obliterated

“I saw [an inebriated] Batman. It was kind of a letdown. To see someone dressed in a very expensive superhero costume and walking in with a bag of McDonald’s food... Batman doesn’t eat McDonald’s.” -- Anonymous Upper West Side doorman

Doormen may just be the best real estate agents in the city

“The inside information we get is when the tenant dies or tells someone they are moving. These apartments are co-ops and go for millions or [sic] dollars. I don't have rich enough friends to fill them in on when apartments will be on the market.” -- Anonymous Upper East Side doorman, sourced from Reddit

Nothing you do in the lobby is private

“I see a lot of [inebriated tenants] fighting in the lobby. It gets pretty crazy.” -- Anonymous Midtown doorman

Some doormen will talk about residents behind their backs

"Most of my co-workers are Eastern European and especially being in a very Jewish part of NYC, there is [sic] some remarks about the Jewish people who live here. All [offensive comments are] behind the back though, and the people who make the worst remarks are probably the nicest to their face. I was surprised when I first heard some slurs and ridiculous things being thrown around about them. -- Anonymous Upper West Side Doorman, sourced from Reddit

Everyone is a phony, really

“One of my tenants is an art dealer from Brooklyn: he pretends he’s from London and puts on a British accent w [sic] his associates but says he yo [sic] to me in private.” -- Anonymous Park Avenue doorman

Tenants in doorman buildings kind of suck

“I deal with a lot of outspoken people, people with new money. They sound really entitled. They believe that because they’re paying X amount of dollars a month they deserve certain treatment. My job isn’t to cater to your every whim. It’s to hold this door and make sure nobody gets in the building without proper clearance.” -- Anonymous Upper West Side doorman

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Melissa Kravitz is a writer based in NYC. She is her own doorman.