Leader of His Team

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It’s hard to sum up everything that makes Leroy Abramson a talented worker. Abramson, a 67-year-old Harlem native who now lives in Coney Island, has skills that have been cultivated over years of experience.

“That’s not just one thing that I can say about why Leroy’s the best,” said David Herbert, the site manager for Securitas Security Services at 522 Fifth Ave., where Abramson works. “He’s just always there. You can count on him.”

Managing directors at Morgan Stanley ask for Leroy Abramson by name when planning security details for events. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Managing directors at Morgan Stanley ask for Leroy Abramson by name when planning security details for events. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Dependability, thoroughness and unwavering professionalism define Abramson’s tenure as a security officer at the building, where he’s worked since 2007. Clocking in at 7 a.m., Abramson juggles the myriad of jobs that make up a typical workday: patrolling the building’s 23 floors, answering visitor and employee queries, checking the security doors and cameras, responding to various alerts and emergencies.

Regardless of the task, Abramson takes an efficient, no-fuss approach that speaks to his view of security work, a kind of job that’s often judged by what doesn’t happen.

“When you’re working security, it’s just like what you want in your healthcare,” Abramson said. “We do preventive work. We see a potential problem and we nip it in the bud so it doesn’t become an actual problem.”

In conversation, Abramson praises the expertise of his fellow officers. But employees at 522 Fifth often go to him exclusively when they have a job that needs to be done just right. Herbert has new recruits train with Abramson. Managing directors at Morgan Stanley, which leases the office portion of the building, ask for him by name when planning security details for events.

In turn, Abramson works to maintain a quality work environment as the shop steward, or union-worker liaison, for 32 BJ SEIU. He has been involved with organized labor for years, working at Teamster-organized photo shops through the 1990s and serving as steward for Local 966 before his first security job with Advantage Security in May 2001. He says he values the bonds that form between members.

“It’s like brotherhood,” he said. “It’s very strong.”

Of course, there’s more to life than work. A husband and father, Abramson’s family ranges from his eldest daughter (53) to his newest great-grandchild (3). A lover of jazz, he saw Duke Ellington and Miles Davis perform at the final Randall’s Island Jazz Festival in the late 1950s and lived next to the Harlem stoop made iconic in Art Kane’s 1958 photo “A Great Day in Harlem.” He’s also a longtime freelance photographer who has done work for the House of the Lord Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, of which he is a member. Abramson’s photos have appeared in the Amsterdam News, the Daily Challenge and Unique New York, a now-shuttered African-American periodical.

With such important responsibilities in his care, Abramson views his job with a combination of seriousness and modesty.

“It means doing a job and doing it professionally and making sure that everything runs OK while I work,” he said. “Being observant and keeping people safe. That’s what it means. Just being Mr. Abramson and doing my job.”

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