What No One Tells You About Living in a Doorman Building

published Sep 15, 2018
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(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

For doorman-building devotees, there’s nothing like seeing a familiar face on the way in and out of that place you call home. But for others, there’s nothing worse than having to chit chat with this person—or having him know your business. For those lucky enough to have the option, the decision is of personal preference. If you’re considering moving into a building with someone manning the front desk, here’s what you need to know, according to longtime doorman-building tenants and real estate professionals:

1. You’ll feel safer

“I feel so safe in my doorman building that I rarely lock the front door. I know that a stranger won’t get past the front door without being vetted.”

Lauren Cangiano, licensed real estate broker, Halstead Real Estate.

2. You can talk Netflix

“I’ve lived in a doorman building for 13 years. Our current doorman always has a smile, a great recommendation for a new show to watch on Netflix, or he’ll share what movie he’s excited to watch next!”

Rodrigo Mora, insurance agent, Clear Path Brokerage, and longtime doorman building tenant.

3. There’s always someone there to sign for your packages.

“With Amazon taking over the world, every New Yorker probably orders packages two to three times a week. Having a doorman there makes it possible for this to happen. Without one, you’re most likely delivering packages to your office and then lugging them on the subway or Ubering it home.”

Brandon Major, agent, Warburg Realty

4. You have someone to direct your complaints to.

“One of the best things about having a doorman is that you have someone to call if neighbors are playing loud music and you want them to lower it.”


5. You’ll have someone to help out if you’re forgetful

“It’s great to have a doorman if you forget your keys (and you happen to be a door locker) or if you forget to shut off the stove.”


On the other hand…

6. You’re gonna have to tip.

“It’s common courtesy to tip the doormen (and all staff) during the holidays. Most of my clients do $100 per doorman and $50 for any other staff.”


7. You always have to be friendly.

“Some people are very private introverted types. They don’t necessarily want to greet the doorman every time they come and go, but you want to be as friendly as possible.”


8. You might not actually be that much safer.

“While a virtual doorman and advanced security systems exist, a doorman is largely seen as helping people feel safer in a building. However, sometimes a doorman can lull you into a false sense of security, so you don’t want to let your guard down too much.”

Allison Chiaramonte, agent, Warburg Realty

9. Your personal life might be exposed

“The doorman knows everything, including who comes and goes from your apartment as well as what packages, prescriptions, and visitors you get. If you’re painfully private, living in a doorman building may leave you feeling exposed.”