Beloved Grandfather and Doorman Alfred Pocari Dies After Being Hit By SUV


Alfred Pocari, in a photo from his GoFundMe fundraiser.

Alfred Pocari, who was hit by an SUV while crossing West End Avenue at 98th Street on his way to his shift as a doorman on Friday, died on Wednesday morning, his family posted on a GoFundMe page dedicated to helping pay for medical and other expenses.

Dear friends, family and kind strangers,

We want to thank you all for your kind words and support during this difficult time for our family. I cannot find the right words to write, as it hurts me deeply, to let you know that our dear uncle passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, July 24. It has helped the family tremendously to hear about how much he was loved and respected as a friend and at his job. He truly found joy in helping others and he will be in our hearts forever.

Sincerely,
Alfred’s Family

Pocari, 62, was grandfather to one-year-old triplets and was described by his niece as tender, outgoing, and optimistic. He was the doorman at 785 West End Avenue, whose residents have been devastated by the news. Several donated to the fundraiser, which had raised nearly $16,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.

“Alfred was our doorman,” wrote Danny Debold. “I love coming home every night and seeing him. He would tell me all sorts of stories of life back home, his 3 granddaughters, and loads of sage advice. He helped make 785 feel like a home.”

“His loss to this community is really heartbreaking,” wrote 785 resident David Morgan in an email to West Side Rag. “He was a special soul.”

The other victim in the crash has asked for privacy and anonymity, according to a friend.

We wrote more about Pocari here.

NEWS | 21 comments | permalink
    1. Mike says:

      This is absolutely terrible. I can not believe that the driver was able to drive after so many driving infractions among other law issues. It was extremely clear she shouldn’t have been on the road. Because of this, 2 families are devastated/changed forever. Alfred was one of the kindest people I have ever met. I feel so awful for his family. I hope they know how much he meant to so many of us. He was not just a doorman to us, he was someone we looked forward to seeing every day. Someone who brought a smile to us when we returned from dinner. Someone who made us feel welcome when we moved to the new city. Someone who made our dogs excited from the way he called their names. Someone who offered advice. Someone who shared his stories of his life/family. Someone who was a friend. No one deserves what happened to him; let alone one of the nicest/most selfless people I have met. We will miss you Alfred.

      • Somia D says:

        To people who justbarely knew him, he was a “doorman” To us who grew up around him he was a polyglot. He was a ranking army officer in his country. He spoke 3 languages. Was able to take up any discussion and debate and cert eloquently present his side.
        He loved to dance, he was member of the national dance team in his early 20s. He taught himself how to play guitar. He was handy with anything that needed fixing. He had a big library of books which I would borrow from time to time. He gave me the Diary of Anne Frank to read when I was a little girl. He gave advice more than my own parents.
        Above all he had a big heart, he would call everyone and ask how are they doing. I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago and he called to see if we were enjoying ourselves. And that was the last time I spoke to him…. I can’t fathom the idea that he was taken away from us so early. He did not deserve it. I just can’t believe it.
        Your Sonka

      • Sonia D says:

        Mike thank you for your thoughtfulness

    2. Tag says:

      This is just so senseless. To see the notice in the building today was a gut punch. We were all praying for a different outcome. I don’t think I will ever walk into the building and not think of him and his warm greeting, smile and gentle spirit. Rest In Peace Alfred. Condolences to his family.

      • Daniela says:

        I agree. I was really hoping and praying for a different outcome and when I saw the notice in the building I couldn’t even finish reading the rest.
        He was such a gentleman and always so kind. He was an extremely hard worker and enjoyed what he did and welcomed you every night with a great, big smile.
        He will truly be missed.
        My heart goes out to his family for this senseless loss.

    3. Leslie says:

      When I was sick this winter and was not able to get up off the floor Alfred helped me to my bed, got my medicine and offered his support. He helped me in many little ways all the time. If I couldn’t get my window shut, he would come up and help me. If he saw me trekking home from West Side Market he would walk to meet me to carry my packages. He never looked for money for anything and in fact…he waved it away, he was a truly loving and generous person. Always a smile, a hello or just a friendly glance. He clearly loved his family and friends and shared his joys of being a grandfather to triplets. Just a really lovely man. Being a doorman isn’t the most exciting job in the world but he didn’t complain or appear grouchy or bored, he was just a solid citizen. This must be a devastating loss for his family. I know that I will miss him terribly. A lot of us will miss him. Rest In Peace dear Alfred.

      • Migena says:

        Thank you all for the kind words about my uncle. You only knew him as a doorman and apparently a really good one at it. He was a college educated man, with an immense love for knowledge and people. The family moved here for a better future for their kids and were willing to do any job to help them. He was a doorman with a mind of an engineer, heart of humanitarian and light feet of a dancer. The family really appreciates your kind words about him, it solidifies our high opinion we share about him.

      • AC says:

        Well written Leslie , , , a touching tribute.

    4. Sorrowful says:

      So terribly sorry to hear about this poor man, in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time right about when I tend to cross around there on Friday afternoons, except I happened to be out of town.

      Am not a De Blasio fan by any means but do think it’s been helpful to have the newish concrete islands around 97th, where I prefer to cross West End. The big underaddressed problem is getting these dangerously irresponsible drivers off of the streets, particularly those without insurance, with mammoth fines, impoundment, and incarceration if necessary.

      This latest tragedy is so reminiscent of the actress who lost a couple of children when she was hit in Prospect Heights recently, or the Columbia dean struck down at 116th not long ago. Whatever you think about Broken Windows on the sidewalks or in the subways we need something like it on the roads at least, particularly around highway entrances. After a certain point some people just shouldn’t be allowed to drive anymore.

    5. ScooterStan says:

      Condolences to this gentleman’s family and friends.

      And, hopefully, the police and D.o.T. will do something about all the suburbanite drivers racing to get onto the West Side Highway and out of our city, that they so obviously detest.

    6. Jen says:

      There are no words for the situation like this… A beautiful life is taken in the most senseless manner. It all could have been prevented.

      RIP, Alfred. Condolences to the family.

    7. Kathleen Balgobin says:

      Our condolences to the family,from the co_workers from JFK.we would like to know about the funeral.

    8. Saundra ward eaton says:

      I worked with Alfred at that airport always smiling great man hard worker

    9. Maribel Guerrero says:

      Rest in Peace Alfred. I remember your warm personality, your humorous ways. We can be patiently waiting for a flight in JFK and we will start a conversation just about anything. My condolences to Alfred Family he will be missed.

    10. Emilie de Brigard says:

      I think that the whole neighborhood has been devastated by this abominable accident. I know how dearly the residents of my building cherish our staff, so I can appreciate how the people in 785 feel. When I think of Mr Pocari’s family, I feel so angry at the driver and at the system that let her stay behind the wheel of an SUV, no less. I feel helpless to console them in their loss. Is there anything we can do, individually or as a community, to (a) fix the hazards on WEA and (b) get drivers like that off the road? I presume she will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, this time.

    11. Vivian Eury-Prieto says:

      As a former Air Serv co-worker of Alfred Picari I give my deepest sympathy to the family. I worked with Alfred and to me and I’m sure others he was a great person who always found a way to make me laugh. He had an open heart❤ and was giving. Alfred you will be truly missed and now you will be dancing and laughing with the angels🙏🏽🙏🏽. S.I.P. Alfred.

    12. Susan says:

      Not to take away from the fundraising which I’m sure is needed. But if he was a member of 32BJ, the union most doormen belong to, his family should call 1-800-551-3225. He would be entitled to a variety of benefits including medical expense. If he wasn’t, building management should explain why the they did not sign a union contract so their beloved doorman could be taken care of.

    13. Janice says:

      That’s awful! I’m so sorry to hear. My deep condolences to his family.

    14. NYYgirl says:

      Horrible horrible horrible. Condolences to his family.

    15. Richard Diaz says:

      A Greatest Friend And A Tremendous Loving Guy. I Will Missed Him Deeply And Sadly. My Sympathies And Condolences And Prayers. You Are A Great Good Friend. Love, Richard Diaz