Nelson Garcia, 41, greets everyone going through the door at 308 East 79th Street by name. He has worked as a porter, concierge and doorman there for 14 years. “I'm always happy. If I have problems, you know, I leave my problems at home and I come here always smiling. You know, people like that,” he says.
Garcia worked in the fur industry, and was a warehouse manager as well as working in a building part time. He decided that the preferred his building work - and the fur industry began slowing down - and made the switch to full time. He loves gathering information from people and learning about their lives. He has also learned how to treat people, even when they’re upset. He says it’s a stressful job, but the key is to not take anything personally.
Garcia is from Brooklyn, but spent time in the Dominican Republic, where his parents worked, from age five to 15. He lives in Queens now, and has three daughters. The oldest is 20, and in college in Buffalo. In his free time he enjoys cycling, and goes on tours with a cycling group. He likes weightlifting, and also has a second job as a superintendent in Long Island City. On Saturdays he attends classes at Queens College for refrigeration systems. He has almost completed the program, and hopes to become a super or work in a hospital with refrigeration systems.