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December 2010

NYC doormen, building service people don’t expect big holiday tips or get them either


More than half of city apartment dwellers plan to dish out $500 or less in holiday tips in their buildings, according to an online survey.

That may sound like plenty of cheer, but fully staffed properties have 20 to 30 workers, all of whom count on the extra cash to brighten their holiday seasons.

"People tip the staff they see," said Teri Rogers, of BrickUnderground.com, which did the unscientific poll. "The people who mostly get burned are porters and handymen. They're not as visible to residents, but they do the hardest work."

Doormen on late-night shifts will likely wind up with fewer fat tip envelopes, too.

"You can pay your bills . . . get a little extra cash in your pocket," said Richard Figueroa, 28, of Brooklyn, who's expecting about $2,000 in tips from a 35-unit building in Chelsea. "I don't ask for too much, I don't expect too much."

Doorman Rick Cintron says he's thankful tips keep getting better at his building on Seventh Ave. in Manhattan, despite the economic downturn.

"It hasn't changed that much, even in the bad economy," said Cintron, 48, who lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, adding that he doesn't care when people tip. "It doesn't matter as long as they come."

The holidays haven't been so cheery the past two years for Richard Boakye, who works at a building on W. 21st St.

"Sometimes you get presents. Sometimes you don't get anything," said Boakye, 66, of the Bronx. "It doesn't look good, but when it comes, I'll appreciate it."

Rogers did extensive interviews with doormen on the upper West Side, the upper East Side and Greenwich Village to generate a holiday tipping guide.

Most are happy with the tips they're expecting to get this season, except for those in buildings with high vacancy rates or lots of subletters, who are typically low tippers because they feel like transients.

The doormen know not to expect too much from elderly tenants on fixed incomes but may balk at doing extra work in their apartments for free, Rogers said.

Some cheapskates say they resent having to tip, while others are clueless new arrivals to New York City apartment living or are making a statement about poor service.

Photo caption: Joseph Boakye, who works as a doorman, doesn't expect big holiday tips, but appreciates it.

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Beijing architect lives in egg-shaped house on sidewalk

Dai Haifei, a 24-year-old architect in Beijing, China, found an ingenious solution to live rent-free. He built himself a mobile egg-shaped house that is powered by the sun. 

The 6-foot-high structure, which is small enough to fit on a sidewalk, is made of bamboo strips, wood chippings, sack bags, and grass seed that’s expected to grow in the spring.

The pod features a solar panel on the roof that powers a lamp in the cozy space. The house cost around $1,000 to build (6427 yen), according to China Daily.










It seems Haifei has taken the trend of living in tiny spaces to a whole new level.

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