Paramount Plaza’s Everyman

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Agron Osmani, 47, does the most important work of the day during a half-hour period. That’s when son Anvi, 14, and daughter Rudna, 11, get home from school and he has 30 minutes to spend with his family before heading off to work. By 5:15 p.m., Osmani must be in the Paramount Plaza, at 1633 Broadway just north of Times Square, where he works on the cleaning staff.

A self-described family man, Osmani said getting married to his wife Nazima and having kids motivated him to get a job as a cleaner at Paramount Plaza.

Last winter, Agron Osmani stayed at work until 3:30 a.m. clearing Paramount Plaza of snow. Photo by Janet Lawrence

Last winter, Agron Osmani stayed at work until 3:30 a.m. clearing Paramount Plaza of snow. Photo by Janet Lawrence

“It has good pay and its benefits are great. With the kids, for me that is more important than pay,” he said during an interview in the basement office of the 48-story steel and glass building.

Osmani emigrated from Albania in 1986 and now lives on Staten Island. His job, which entails everything from dusting tall shelves to shampooing carpets, can encompass a wide variety of activities.

“There is no ‘most important’ job. Anything they ask me to do, I do. My specialty is everything,” he said with a laugh.

The biggest challenge is when it snows. And that can be pretty often, during a New York City winter.

“Last year’s snowstorm, I stayed until 3:30 in the morning, shoveling, pouring salt,” he said. “When it snows, you can’t just go home, you have to keep up with the snow. And if it goes until 4 in the morning, you stay till 4 in the morning.”

But even the late nights are outweighed by the best parts of the job, Osmani said, like when a tenant thanks him for his work.

Among staff, Osmani is best known as the shop steward, or liaison between the union and his fellow cleaners at 1633 Broadway. In that role, he travels to union rallies and meetings all over the east coast, and once saw Sen. Ted Kennedy speak on immigration issues in Washington, D.C.

Martin Camaj, Osmani’s foreman said, “He’s incredibly hardworking. And he connects the workers with the union very successfully.”

That probably has something to do with the fact that Osmani clearly enjoys his job.

“I like to be involved with the building. I like to talk to the workers,” he said.

Before Osmani came to the United States, he studied law and languages. He speaks English, Albanian and several Yugoslavian languages, and has picked up some Spanish over the years. These skills allow him to communicate with a variety of workers and bring their concerns to the union’s attention.

Rexhep “Reggie” Jaupi, 45, a fellow cleaner said, “You can talk to him. He listens to you.”

Of course, the best days are the weekends, when Osmani gets to encourage his kids with their schoolwork and takes the whole family out to dinner.

“Family first,” he said, “The job is great, but family first.”

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