Editor’s note: Tessa Abrahams profiles the Upper West Side’s doormen for the West Side Rag. This is the third in her series.
By Tessa Abrahams
Name: Ralph Amadeo
I visited Ralph last week as per the request of one of his (I quickly learned) many, many adoring tenants who occupy the 802 apartments of 75 West End Avenue at 63rd street. In just the 45 minutes or so that I spent in the lobby, Ralph received at least 100 high-fives from tenants of all different ages, who happened to be coming in and out of the building during that time.
When I asked him what the best part about being a doorman was, Ralph replied, “Newborns, definitely newborns. You get to see them brought home for the very first time. Then all of a sudden, they are in elementary school getting off the school bus and I’m like ‘Jeez! How did this all happen so quickly?’” On the other hand, Ralph’s least favorite part about the job is, “when really nice tenants you know for years move away. After a while you get comfortable and form this relationship with them and it’s really sad when you don’t get to see them every day.”
Regardless of his undeniable popularity, Ralph tried his absolute best to remain modest in his answers to my slew of questions: when I asked him if there was anything that most people do not know about the role of a doorman, Ralph responded by saying, “over the years, you really form a bond with these people [tenants]… it’s a bond similar to the one you have with your family… I guess I shouldn’t say that it is on the same level as family, but we are very close.”
Despite the words that came out of his mouth, the tone in his voice suggested otherwise. About two minutes later I asked one of his tenants, Tom, if there was anything I should know about Ralph as he passed us on his way to the elevator – Tom immediately ran back over to us, wrapped his arm around Ralph’s shoulder, and announced, “Oh that handsome devil! Where do I even begin? Well… there was this one time in Miami…” and then the two of them burst into a fit of simultaneous laughter. At first, I assumed that the joke was in the statement itself, but as it turns out, Ralph and Tom did, in fact, go on vacation together to Miami.
As for what actually happened that “one time in Miami,” that is a mystery that has yet to be solved. However, this interaction between Tony and Ralph confirmed my suspicions that Ralph’s tenants do consider him to be a part of the family and vice versa. Sorry Ralph, but it is hard to be humble when you have spent nearly 17 years working for 802 apartments worth of tenants, all of whom can vouch for your greatness. Oh and while we are on the subject, Ralph’s 17th anniversary working for 75 West End Avenue is coming up in the next few days, so everyone please be sure to congratulate him on his many years of outstanding service!
Photos by Tessa Abrahams. To read all of the profiles in this series, click here.
A note from Tessa Abrahams: “Recommendations of doormen are highly encouraged! However, I ask that you keep your recommendations a secret. I want all interviews to be candid, as I believe it keeps the magic alive. Also if possible, please include the times/days in which this individual is typically working. If you know a doorman who you believe should be featured, please feel free to reach out to me directly at tabrahams90 at gmail.com or via the West Side Rag at westsiderag at gmail.com.”