Lillian Lopez is not just Doorwoman of the Year and a hardworking concierge at 300 E. 50th St.; she is also a hero.
One of the tenants in her building, Linda Feldner, 70, who has lived in the building for seven years, said that one day a couple of years ago, she collapsed in the lobby, as she had been ill with cancer. Lopez took swift action and called 911. Feldner was rushed to the hospital, and eventually recovered from her illness. Feldner said she would never forget that day.
“She’s a lifesaver in multiple ways,” she said. “She’s somebody I can trust totally.”
Though she is not saving lives every day, Lopez is making lives easier on a daily basis. She has worked in the building since it opened. Like most concierges, she takes work orders and packages from her tenants, welcomes guests and makes phone calls all day.
But Lopez likes to go that extra mile for the tenants in her building.
“I try to go above and beyond; it’s a pleasure to be here with these people,” said Lopez, 51. “We’re all like a family here.”
She truly enjoys doing a little something extra for the people in her building, whether it’s picking up a newspaper for someone who is too busy or sick to go out, or watching people’s dogs and cats while they are away on vacation.
Lopez said that people truly notice her absence.
“When I’m on vacation and come back, people say that they missed me,” she said. “It’s such a good feeling. You could do the littlest thing, and they acknowledge that.”
Lopez started out working as a doorwoman in 1998. Her husband was the superintendent of a building in Forest Hills, and the doorman happened to be out sick. She helped out by giving out packages, and then eventually was hired. In 2004, she started working at 300 E. 55th St. and never left.
One of the best perks of the job, Lopez said, is getting close to people. “People confide in me,” she said.
Lopez is also one of the few women in the profession.
“They expect to see a man, and they see me,” she said. “People say ‘Wow, you’re a woman!’ They congratulate me, and it’s a really good feeling.”
Even though Lopez really loves her job, she said that it is more difficult than many people would think. She has to have an excellent memory, and not only remembers the names of all 118 people in her building, but also the names of their pets and cleaning ladies. She will even notice if the people in her building get a new haircut or a new pet.
Her secret to being a great building worker? Always be alert, and write everything down.
“She could get a job anywhere, but she said she’ll never leave us,” said Thelma Smith, who has lived in the building since it opened. “Lily makes you feel good to live here. Everything she does is out of the ordinary.”
Lopez lives in Forest Hills with her husband Angel and two children.
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