Building Turn-Around

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Julio Sirui started working at 6485 Broadway in the Bronx only two years ago, but already residents cannot imagine their home without him.

“After four years of living in the building, I finally feel at home,” said resident Donna Clarke, who added that Sirui, “completely turned around the building.”

In addition to the building’s improved appearance, Sirui’s helpful disposition and ever-present smile have changed the atmosphere in the apartment complex. Clarke describes Sirui as the kind of person who is always happy, cheerful and willing to help, whether it’s by holding the door or helping with groceries.

Julio Sirui supports a family back in the Dominican Republic with his job as a porter at 6485 Broadway. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Julio Sirui supports a family back in the Dominican Republic with his job as a porter at 6485 Broadway. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Sirui, 57, immigrated from the Dominican Republic three years ago to join his son Jose in New York City. Jose, 37, who is also a porter, facilitated both the financial logistics and details of the immigration process that reunited him with his father after several years of being apart. When his father arrived in the city, Jose recommended him for a porter position in the building. Jose also serves as a translator for his father, who prefers to communicate in Spanish. Sirui is a good man with a strong work ethic, Jose said, and that’s a large part of why his father is so good at his job.

Clarke said that one of her fondest memories of Sirui is also one of the funniest. When the hot water went out in her apartment due to a problem with the building’s boiler, it was Sirui she turned to for help. Despite the language barrier, Clarke said they found their own way to communicate by her acting out the dilemma and miming trying to shower and wash her hair with freezing water. After they both had a good laugh at her antics, Sirui quickly got the hot water running again and Clarke was able to avoid being late to work.

When he is not working, Sirui enjoys staying connected with his Latin roots through Spanish television and music, especially merengue.

He supports his wife, Sara, and their four children—Welkin, Juana, Jeraldina and Jafrelfi—who remain in the Dominican Republic. He hopes that one day, he will be able to reunite the entire family in New York.

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