Love in an Elevator
On the day of his retirement, one of Manhattan’s last remaining manual elevator operators looks back on thirty-three years of colorful ups and downs.
Photos by Elizabeth Herman
In the basement of 6 West 28th Street in Manhattan, there is a small office with low concrete ceilings and a wall lined by 1970s mannequins. The main entrance, via a manual elevator, is flanked on either side by two smaller interior rooms. To the right is the motor room, with its oil-stained pulley system, and to the left, an interior closet with a faded poster of Jennifer Lopez from 1999 hanging haphazardly on the wall. Finally, sitting at a glass-top table in the center of the main room, sunglasses perched atop his hunter-green cap, is Angel, the building's superintendent and elevator operator. It is a bitterly cold morning in late February and Angel is huddled next to his ineffectual space heater. The boiler is broken and his office is the coldest room in the building.
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