Pride in His Building

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Growing up, Emanuel Watson watched how hard his father worked to provide for Watson and his five siblings, and that taught him the value of honest labor at a very young age.

“I watched him go to work every day, all the way to Jersey from Brooklyn,” Watson said of his father. “He would leave at 6 in the morning and not get back until 9 or 10 o’clock at night. My grandfather was the same way, and I just don’t know any other way.”

Emanuel Watson says the busier he is, the better he feels. Photo by Karl Crutchfield

Emanuel Watson says the busier he is, the better he feels. Photo by Karl Crutchfield

Watson credits this third-generation work ethic for his own success as a porter at 1407 Linden Blvd., in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

“It’s just something that’s in me,” he said. “I enjoy working, and the busier I am, the better I feel.”

Wanting to try something new, Watson made the transition from security guard to porter when he came to the building 10 years ago. He spent the 18 years prior working as a security guard for Gabriel Towers condominiums. Rather than leave the his union when they stopped representing security guards, Watson asked them to recommend him to a new position, which is how he ended up at his present building.

A native New Yorker and longtime Brooklyn resident, Watson said he is proud of his community roots and all Brooklyn building workers. When he has a chance to get away, he takes his small boat out on local waterways to fish; Jamaica Bay is one of his favorite spots.

Watson strives to make sure the building’s appearance reflects the pride he takes in his work. Andrea Plummer, who administers payroll for the building and conducts inspections, actually knew Watson’s work before she met the man behind it. When she first began making building inspections, she remembers being particularly impressed by the appearance of certain floors; she inquired and found out that Watson was responsible for their maintenance. She says that because he has such high expectations for himself, as well as his fellow employees, there is a marked difference in the condition of the building.

At one point, a co-worker was let go and Watson was the only porter in the building. But Plummer never heard a complaint out of Watson; he simply stepped up and took care of the entire building himself, she remembered.

Hard work is also important because Watson wants to be a good provider for his family, the same way his father was for him. He has four children—Daneka, Darius, Devan and Rai-Vaughn—and is excited to become a grandfather; his eldest, Daneka, and her husband are expecting their first child, a boy.

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