The job of a doorman requires a concerted desire to interact with others, and for Pat Burns, that was the draw from day one. Born and raised in Ireland, Burns moved to the United States in 1969. He has been working with people in some capacity ever since.
“Dealing with people is his thing,” said Carol Burns, Pat’s wife.
Upon arriving in the United States, Burns took a job as a bartender, and made his living in the bar industry for three decades, owning, or working in, a number of bars throughout New York.
“In the bar business, he always dealt with people,” Carol Burns explained. “When he started to get older, he decided that he wanted to get out of the bar business, and he happened to get a doorman’s job. That way, he still gets to deal with people.”
Burns found work at 2 Fifth Ave., near Washington Square Park, and has worked there for more than 10 years, making friends with building residents, visitors and co-workers alike.
“I look forward to coming to work just because of him,” said Vadim Selsky, a concierge who has worked the day shift with Pat for more than five years. “He’s a really fun guy to work with. He’s a great friend not just to me, but to anybody. He’s a great guy to talk to and everyone in the building loves him.”
Burns and Selsky formed quite the team for the past several years, working together to shoulder the concierge and doorman duties during the busy hours inside the building and bad weather outside.
A father of three and grandfather of three, Burns recently suffered a stroke and is currently recovering at a hospital near his home in Yonkers. Residents have been very aware of his absence.
“Now that he’s in the hospital, you should see people coming to me and asking about him, how he’s doing,” Selsky said. “They send him get well cards, flowers, fruit baskets every day. People miss him a lot. I miss my partner very much.”
Carol Burns has also felt an outpouring of support from the building’s residents.
“I’ve gotten more cards to this house from the tenants of 2 Fifth Avenue than from anywhere else, and they all say they miss his smile and his happy hello in the mornings when they’re leaving for work,” she said. “He loves the children, he loves the people, and he enjoys his work at 2 Fifth Avenue very much.
After Carol Burns told her husband about the award, he was all smiles, although the stroke has compromised his ability to speak.
“If he had been well,” she said, “he’d be jumping hoops right now,”.
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