UES Doorman of the Year is an integral part of life on the block

Jose Garcia started at 133 East 80th 40 years ago and rose through the ranks from elevator operator to handyman, and now doorman.

| 18 Oct 2023 | 12:38

Almost 40 years after joining the staff of 133 East 80th Street, Jose Garcia has risen in his career from elevator operator, to handyman, to doorman at the 14-story, luxury co-op built in 1930 by renowned architect Rosario Candela.

A U.S. Army veteran who served three years of active duty in Europe “ten klicks from the East German border” learned about the building’s original open position by a relative. He interviewed with the super and got the job right away.

Now a staple on the northwest corner of Lexington Ave. and 80th street, and looking sharp in his steel gray uniform, Garcia is greeted warmly by the building’s tenants as well as by neighborhood passersby. “We’re one big family,” Garcia said of those who live at 133, but was quick to add: “Over the years, you kind of become part of the block family. I have neighbors across the street who go away and ask if I’ll keep an eye out.”

When questioned about what the best part of the job is, Garcia responded simply, “Being here,” then gave a shout-out to his colleagues. He really likes “the everyday responsibilities and challenges” that come with the job; one of which is being a bit of a cheerleader. “I’m a positive person. If I see someone who’s down, I try to lift their spirits up.”

He really wasn’t able to pin down the best day on the job. “Every day is a good day,” he said.“ Every day is beautiful.” All this optimism seems to stem from an attitude of gratitude. “I’m grateful for the job, great tenants, great friends, and coworkers, and for good health.”

After working his eight-hour shift, Garcia’s favorite thing to do is return to Queens and spend time with his wife of 20 years, Yolanda.

Then the next day, he starts all over again. “I get up at 4 a.m. Take my time. I don’t like rushing.” He’s a thoughtful co-worker to his colleagues. “I like getting here early. The night guy wants to go home, so I’m here to make sure he can leave,” he explained.

About the honor of being named Upper East Side Doorman of the Year Garcia said “This is not just for me. It’s for every doorman and every building worker. We serve. We protect. We look out for the tenants. This is what we do and I’m happy to be part of that.”