Stadium Cleaner Meets the World at the Garden

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dominguez rubs shoulders with celebrities and keeps famous event center running

by allen houston

rosa dominguez, 50, has done it all in her 17 years as a stadium cleaner at madison square garden. she has been a custodian and an elevator operator, vacuumed the floors of the famous event center and hobnobbed with musicians such as jay z, shakira and sports legends like mohammad ali.

not bad for a small-town girl who came here from the dominican republic more than 20 years ago.

"its like magic at the garden," she said. "you can be watching the circus in the morning, and then in the afternoon you can see a rock concert."

the mother of three currently spends much of her workday cleaning the club bar and grill to make sure that it's ready for opening. the exclusive bar is located on the club terrace inside the stadium and is a popular place to hang out with celebrities and members of professional sports teams.

her day starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 3 a.m. during that time, madison square garden goes from having a raucous energy to the solitude of late night. dominguez likes both parts of her job.

"i like meeting different kinds of people and that's good when i first come in to work," she said. "later, it's nice to have some time alone to concentrate on the work that has to be done."

she said that the job has afforded her the opportunity to see lots of concerts as well as meet many famous musicians, such as shakira, who was "extremely nice" when they met on the elevator.

the job has also afforded her the opportunity to help send her three children, yolanda, hector and jose mendoza, to college-a position that she wasn't sure she'd be in before she landed her current job.

before work, dominguez likes to partake in some of her favorite activities, including reading, taking yoga and baking cakes, especially pineapple and other dominican flavors of her youth.

she also loves to travel. her favorite place that she has been recently is las vegas.

"it's just so wonderful and amazing," she said.

back in the office, she said that what makes her job so wonderful is all of the great people that she works with.

"i just have the nicest bunch of co-workers in the world," she said.

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