Phillip Drummond Would Have You Fired
I visited a friend in Mid-town Manhattan last night. He lives in a very nice, posh building with a beautiful lobby, golden fixtures adorning every piece of furniture, marble floors and a door staff. Compared to where I live, this place was like visiting the Drummond residence from “Different Strokes.”
Like many exquisite locales in New York, the door staff is uniformed. They announce when you arrive, help with your items and engage in pleasant, supposedly chipper dialogue – giving the residents the sense of class that they have come to expect and pay for.
When I arrived at the residence the doorman I met was a nice, older gentleman with an old world accent. He greeted me and rang the residence I was attending.
When I left the building the staff had changed shifts. I passed an older resident in a fur coat who looked like she was auditioning to be Vanessa Redgrave’s stunt double. The new doorman, a Latino who had a shaved head and a skull tattooed on his hand greeted her as she entered the building with a smile and a “Good evening Ms. XXXXX)”.
I stood in the lobby as Ms. Redgrave entered the elevator and I slipped on my scarf and gloves. The doorman, who could see me, picked the phone up and started talking to another staff member about a maintenance issue. He then proceeded to talk about his fellow staff members and their duties by referring to them as “these niggas”.
“Yo, these niggas need to get my carts up here.”
“You hear what that crazy ass nigga said to the boss?”
“I just buzzed Ms. Smith. Send that nigga up her motherfuckin’ place.“
Money can buy you a ton of things in New York that seem unreachable to me: cable TV (or just A TV at this point), a mid-town high rise and a staff to meet your needs. But the old adage remains true: You can’t buy class. Just ask the “niggas” of West 56th street.