Always Going the Extra Mile

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'sweetheart' doorman grieves with residents when they lose a loved one

by isha dandavate

residents know that james komar loves his job, because every day for the past 10 years this doorman has come to work with a smile.

komar arrives at the georgian, 3701 henry hudson parkway, at 4 p.m. and stays until midnight-he helps the residents come in and out through the doors, organizes the packages and keeps the lobby clean. but in these basic tasks he has found a way to go above and beyond.

"i like helping people," said komar, 48. "it makes me feel good knowing that i'm there and that i'm helping people. that's the most important thing for me."

the bronx building's residents also feel good having him around. joan feldstein, a resident for 27 years, said, "it's comforting to know he's there." feldstein had back surgery last may. when a friend dropped her off at the front, she remembered that komar "raced out to open the door and give me his arm before i could even open the car door." he walked her upstairs and asked if she needed anything else.

"he always goes the extra mile, whether it's running to get the door or help with packages, with a big smile on his face" said feldstein. "he's truly a sweetheart."

komar not only helps the building's residents, but also their visitors. adele friedman has been visiting her friend, resident nancy dubin, since she moved into a nearby building last year. friedman requires the aid of a wheelchair, and when she moved in, komar insisted on helping her arrange the boxes in her apartment. "he came up without wanting money or anything," said friedman. "he was the one who offered to help me."

"i like helping the older people in the building," said komar. "i like making people feel good."

friedman once observed komar speaking with a resident in the building who has alzheimer's, and is also confined to a wheelchair. komar noticed a rainbow behind the elderly man, so he turned him around and said, "look at this, there's a big rainbow!"

"it really was very heartwarming," said friedman.

friedman's friend dubin, 57, has been on the board of the building co-operative for over 10 years. dubin also notices the warmth in his interactions with residents. when she lost her husband three years ago, dubin remembered that komar came up and sat with her and her family.

"he's very, very friendly, very respectful, and he always has a smile on his face," said dubin. "james is the best doorman in the world."

yonkers-born komar has lived in the bronx for 45 years, and has been married for three years. in his free time he likes to explore the city-go to art museums, take walks in outdoor gardens and listen to music. "and that's pretty much it," he said. "i'm just a normal person."

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