Documentary - 52 minutes - 1997
Produced and directed by Dree Andrea
In New York thousands of doormen have played the role of father, brother, friend or even the occasional lover for the residents of their apartment buildings for centuries.
One chooses to have a doorman mainly for practical reasons (who else will sign for delivery of packages and red roses when you're out jogging?) and safety. The friendly smile every time you arrive or leave your building is a pleasant extra that makes the sometimes lonely life in this big city somewhat more bearable. The presence of the doorman appears to go almost unnoticed. In most cases however he knows more about his residents than they would like to believe.
Doormen come in every shape, form and size, In All Visitors must be Announced we will get to know three of them really well.
Harvey is about to retire. His whole life he has been working in 21 Jane Street in the West Village. Many residents consider him an indispensable family member.
Franco likes to keep things a little more aloof. After years in the city, this sensitive Italian in his forties still looks at the often cold and hard ways of New York with amazement. Being a doorman is his second job. During the day he works in a barbershop and during the early evening hours he finds time to do house calls in order to support his rather large family.
Peter has done every typical job in the New York job book. Now in his thirties he decided it was time to get serious. He accidentally found a job in the prestigious San Remo, a building on Central Park West where the residents include Bruce Willis, Steve Martin and Dustin Hoffman. Peter laughs his head of when Bruce's wife Demi has three limousines with mineral water delivered, but also tells us he once was just in time to save a woman he found with a plastic bag over her head. She could no longer deal with her loneliness and he still wonders if it might have been better if he had not found her in time.
We also encounter a doorwoman. A bunch of residents, amongst whom ex-major Koch, actor Burt Young, a typical single woman named Eve and the little boy Adam, give their opinion on having the doorman luxury. On the one hand this appears to offer some warmth in an otherwise cold big city. On the other hand one gives up a large part of one's privacy when living in a doorman building.
A good doorman knows: speech is silver, but silence remains golden. An experienced resident knows how to tip and how to tip well, in order to survive. You don't get something for nothing, especially in New York.