Only In New York: Finding Beauty at the Door
By next month, Bernie Smith and Norman Davis, doormen at a luxury building on West 38th Street, might not be speaking to each other.
“We will like each other until we find out who wins this contest,” said Mr. Smith, 27 years old, of a virtual beauty pageant for New York doormen. “Then we ain’t going to be friends.”
“I should definitely win,” the 6-foot-5 Mr. Smith added. “Not only am I the most attractive doorman in this building, but I am also the tallest.”
His liveried rival answered from across Emerald Green’s lobby. “I will forever be able to tell everyone who comes in that door that I’m better looking than you,” said Mr. Davis, 33, holding open the door for a resident.
The search for the city’s dreamiest doorman, which began accepting nominations last week, is something of a publicity stunt. The organizer, Rentenna, is a start-up in the business of rating the city’s rental buildings.
Still, more than three dozen doormen have already been nominated by tenants. Rentenna said it plans to photograph all contenders and pick a winner via an online vote. The top doorman and his nominating tenants get a free happy-hour party at a bar.
Lue Ann Eldar nominated Antonio Pena, the doorman at her Fifth Avenue building, for his demeanor and dashing good looks.
“He is young and fabulous and just a really nice guy,” she said. “If I were somewhat younger, I would think he was somewhat of a hottie.”
John-Henry Matos, a doorman at a Kent Avenue complex in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, believes a win would bring networking opportunities. That’s why the 19-year-old finance major at Baruch College got into the doorman game: access to powerful people.
“I have met HSBC bankers and people who develop apps and music producers. I have become friends with all of them,” Mr. Matos said. “It will help me when I go out into the world to establish my empire.”
The life of a desirable doorman isn’t without potential pitfalls.
“I have gotten asked home a couple of times, but that isn’t really allowed,” said Christopher Rodriguez.
The 29-year-old doorman at the Townsend on West 37th Street was unaware he had been nominated for the contest until a reporter informed him this week. He did have an inkling of who put him up for the prize.