Antonio Garriga, this year’s Downtown Doorman of the Year, has been a doorman for more than 13 years at The Ludlow where he’s discovered the key to a successful day on the job: humor.
“I try to make every day my best day,” he said. “I turn as much as I can into a joke with the guys I work with, tenants. The relationship is really good.”
Garriga rises in his home in the Bronx at 4:30 a.m. each morning, Tuesday through Saturday, to report for his eight-hour shift at 6:30 a.m. at The Ludlow, where he assists residents from the building’s 24 floors and 243 apartment units. Before The Ludlow, Garriga worked as a doorman at another building in the Bronx. And before that he was an elevator operation in an “old fashioned” building on the Upper West Side—a job he recalls fondly. “Really those buildings don’t exist anymore,” he said. “Everything’s automatic now.”
He was eighteen when he first joined 32BJ; he worked through the beginning of college before dropping out to pursue a career with the union.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not the first time Garriga has seen The Ludlow through a crisis. In the fall of 2012, when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the city, Garriga reported to work each day to protect The Ludlow and its residents despite the building’s loss of power—he worked under floodlights—and the threat of break-ins that had occurred in other buildings in the neighborhood.
More recently, as Garriga was deemed an essential worker he says he “learned to appreciate other essential workers more.”
Despite the difficulty of the past year, Garriga has maintained his mission to keep spirits high at The Ludlow. “The best thing to do,” he said, “is lighten everything up as much as you can.”
“The best part of my job,” he explained, “is actually being able to speak and communicate with people of different ages, nationalities, and from different places.”