Frank Smith, or “Frankie the Doorman,” has been a doorman to the stars for 25 years. His building, 88 Central Park West, has housed famous actors, musicians, producers and politicians the likes of which most people only hope to catch a glimpse of on the streets of New York. A brief internet search lists sales and purchases of apartments there by Sting, Robert De Niro and Paul Simon.
Smith, 63, treasures his relationships with the residents of 88 Central Park West, who he says have cared for him over the years as much as he has cared for them. He has worked at parties, proms, fundraisers and other events for residents over the years. He loves seeing residents’ children grow up and go off to college. “I never had any children; this has been my life. My philosophy on life is I treat people the way that I want to be treated. And I've always tried to do more than what I'm supposed to do,” he says. He likes watching the Thanksgiving Day parade go right by the building’s door, as well as the New York City Marathon.
Smith works the late evening shift, and for several hours is the only person manning the lobby. He has manned the door during blizzards, blackouts and strikes. He is prevented from sharing all the best stories he has collected by the privacy agreement he signed when he started working there, but he hopes to someday write a memoir. “This is a service employees union. So if you're not interested in helping people, you're in the wrong line of business,” he says.
Outside of work, Smith is a DJ, a fan of the Raiders and the Yankees, and a stand-up comic. He has participated in the Stand Up NY Comedy Festival, and is occasionally a guest on WCBS radio. He has attended Saturday Night Live once a year for the past 25 years and once got to take his mom.
Before starting his career as a doorman, Smith was a bartender at Madison Square Garden. He also spent 10 years on Wall Street as a human resources recruiter. For most of his life Smith was a bachelor, but then he met his wife Mila on a dating app and has never been happier. He and his wife live in the home Smith grew up in in Morris Park, which he has owned for the last 16 years.
"My philosophy on life is I treat people the way that I want to be treated. And I've always tried to do more than what I'm supposed to do." Frank Smith