If you’ve ever wondered how the doormen at those Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue apartment houses manage to muster such enthusiasm for their job-rushing to help building residents out of their cabs and limos, and bustling to relieve them of their shopping bags-the answer may be the underlying threat of corporal punishment that can result if they fail to hop to it.
On July 8, the doorman of an apartment building at Fifth Avenue and 62nd Street filed a complaint against his building’s super. According to the victim, a 43-year-old East 115th Street resident, he was seated at about 10:40 a.m.-though undoubtedly no less formidable a sentry than if he’d been standing at attention-when his boss approached him from the rear, shook his head forcefully from side to side and stated, “Don’t fall asleep!”
The doorman said the attack caused injuries to his neck and also his upper and lower back, to say nothing of the pain and suffering. He sought medical assistance on his own and then filed a complaint against the super for assault.
Another doorman-related incident demonstrates one method that building workers use to keep themselves occupied during the dog days of summer, when their tenants are off in the Hamptons or Tuscany. In this case, a 26-year-old receptionist at a doctor’s office at Park Avenue and 88th Street told police that she recently received two undesired calls.
In both, a male caller stated, “I’m calling because I need a rectal exam.” A police report did not reveal whether proctology was the specialty of the physician for whom she worked. The receptionist wasn’t amused.
“Stop fooling around,” she demanded, provoking the perp to become even less discreet. “You can bill me when I -,” he said, and proceeded to describe an unmentionable act. The victim hit star-69 (when will obscene callers learn they no longer have cover?) and, sure enough, got the doorman at the same Park Avenue building where she worked.
She asked to speak to his supervisor. Instead, a second doorman got on the line and said, “Don’t call here,” and then hung up. The receptionist took his advice: Rather than calling back, she filed a complaint with the 19th Precinct against both of the men for aggravated harassment.
Dry Cleaner Gets Taken to Cleaners
Some crooks stick up stores with guns. Others-such as the fellow who visited a dry cleaner at 1736 Second Avenue on July 10-manage to snooker their victims out of their profits with a bit more sophistication. The perp, described as a 50-year-old male in wire-rimmed glasses, arrived at around 11:30 a.m. and purchased two lint removers at three dollars apiece, paying with a $100 bill.
The woman behind the desk gave him $94 in change. Then (perhaps inspired by the age-old hustle famously employed by Moses Pray in Paper Moon ), the suspect asked for singles for one of the $10 bills he got back. The dry cleaner complied again. On second thought, the customer decided, the lint removers were too expensive. Now he asked for his $100 bill back.
So his obliging victim returned his C-note, and the perp returned to her what she thought were all the bills she’d given him-the 10 ones and a bunch of 20’s. Then he departed.
After he did, she discovered that after their various transactions, he’d handed her a mere 14 dollars and had absconded with the rest of the cash. He did, however, leave the lint removers behind.
There are those who would argue that shoplifting is a phase, a passing outlet for adolescent rebellion. But that explanation probably offers little comfort to a mother who’s just had both of her daughters get nabbed at the same time for shoplifting at Barneys.
That’s what happened on July 14, when security guards at the Madison Avenue department store arrested two teenagers-same last name, same West 92nd Street address-at 3:15 p.m., as they were trying to leave with thousands of dollars in stolen goods.
The younger of the two suspects-and the more ambitious, if the quantity of merchandise with which she attempted to flee is any indication-was observed by a store detective entering a dressing room with “numerous” items of clothing and emerging with far fewer. The 16-year-old-described as 5-foot-8, 135 pounds, blond-haired, blue-eyed and wearing shorts, a white T-shirt and sandals-was stopped and searched as she attempted to leave the store through its 61st Street exit. Ten items for which she’d neglected to pay were recovered. The duds, valued at $1,444, included Theory, Seven jeans and Co-Op.
In a separate complaint, her 18-year-old sister-described as 5-foot-6, 125 pounds, with long black hair and blue eyes-was observed about the same time entering a dressing room with a pile of clothing and coming out with fewer items. Though her grand total amounted to a more modest $616, her penchant for designer names was no less severe. Her items included a $205 Rozae Nichols top, a $141 pair of Seven jeans, two Theory tops (one black, one white, and valued at $90 and $100, respectively) and a Juicy Couture skirt priced at $80. She was also nabbed as she tried to leave the store. Both siblings were charged with grand larceny.
Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.