A Lighting Fast Fix

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As a little boy, Juan Pichardo loved to watch his father make repairs on their home in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Whether it was a quick fix or detailed electrical work, he was fascinated by it all. Decades later, Pichardo now considers those formative moments with his father the beginning of his life’s calling.

An assistant superintendent and handyman for the Eastmore, on East 76th Street, Pichardo has made a career of isolating and fixing problems.

“My dad was very technical. I watched him and it grew in me,” he said during an interview in the marble-floored lobby.

An assistant superintendent and the only handyman at the Eastmore, Juan Pichardo has probably worked in all 293 units. Photo by Janet Lawrence

An assistant superintendent and the only handyman at the Eastmore, Juan Pichardo has probably worked in all 293 units. Photo by Janet Lawrence

Pichardo is married and lives in Woodhaven, Queens, with two kids of his own—Nicole, 17, and Juan, Jr., 11. He’s worked at the Eastmore since 2001, but he arrived with nearly two decades of building management and repair experience. He’s earned dozens of job-related certifications, including an FDNY boiler license and an air pollution control certification from the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I love working with tools, with my hands, and doing electrical and plumbing work,” he said.

His extensive knowledge does not go unnoticed. As the only handyman for the Eastmore’s 293 units, nearly all residents have seen him in action. Margaret Bitsky, who’s lived in the building for more than 40 years, said that Pichardo has worked on everything in her apartment, from leaky kitchen sinks and bathroom plumbing to electrical projects.

“He’s a good handyman, anything he fixes, he fixes the right way,” she said.

When resident Edward Nyitray’s kitchen exhaust fan broke recently, Pichardo installed a new motor on the same day.

“He realized it was important to us,” Nyitray said. “He’s efficient, there’s no delay in terms of repairs we need in the house, he’s right there. He’s knowledgeable about everything in the building.”

Pichardo, of course, just seems to feel like it’s part of his job.

“They break it, I fix it,” he said with a good-natured grin.

Skill isn’t the only reason Pichardo is so well liked among residents. Throughout the building, the handyman is known for his quick smile and friendly attitude. Bitsky summed it up, saying, “He’s lovable.”

On a recent fall day, resident Erica Copulsky greeted Pichardo with a pat on the back and they chatted like old friends about a troublesome light fixture in her apartment.

Pichardo credits all the staff for the building’s successful maintenance, from “the doormen to the porters. And, of course, resident manager Moises Guimet. We work as a team here, we work as a family practically,” he said.

But Pichardo’s early love of problem solving is what keeps him coming back for more.

“Every day is a different challenge,” he said. “You never know what to expect. And I love a challenge.”

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