Building Service Workers Award Honoree Anna Urban: 'Home' in the Empire State Building

At 81, Anna Urban has faced difficult times but found light from her coworkers

27 Oct 2019 | 02:00

Anna Urban has been a member of 32BJ for 32 years. She has worked at the Empire State Building that whole time. All that has changed is what floor she works on. A native of Poland, Urban came to the U.S. in 1974 to make a better life for her family. She is 81 years old, living in the same apartment she first moved into, and continues to work to support her children and grandchildren. She was recently in Colorado for her grandson’s wedding.

She has endured difficult times in her life, including the loss of her son a few years ago. But even in that dark moment she was able to find light in her coworkers. She has kept all the cards and notes they wrote to her after her loss. “This is like my home,” she says of the building. Her job is to clean several showrooms in the Empire State Building, including sweeping kitchens and vacuuming rugs on the fifth floor.

Urban rarely uses her sick days and emphasizes how much she values her work ethic. She says she is always willing to take on different assignments and help out her coworkers. She is very religious and thanks God for her life. “I would like everyone to be happy,” she says.

"I would like everyone to be happy." Anna Urban