Every New Yorker needs a Superman

Who's your super man?

Before my life in Manhattan, I’d lived in houses for almost a decade. Along with home ownership came the obvious repairs and improvements, which were daunting and costly. Every night or weekend was dedicated to a new or ongoing project, which often left little free time.
 
After five years as a New Yorker, I struggle to remember those exhausting weekends playing house. No more weed-pulling, leaf-raking, touch-up painting or managing contractors on Saturdays and Sundays. My weekends in the City That Never Sleeps are filled with as much sleep as needed. Relaxation, park visits and other fun-filled activities like Broadway and sidewalk wine sipping have replaced the drudgery.
 
My first apartment in New York was in a hi-rise tower with more than 200 units and a building staff larger than some companies I’d worked for. I learned the way that life happens here, and I adjusted quickly. From checking my 3×6 inch mail slot daily, to tipping out doormen during the holiday season, for the first few years, I felt like I was visiting Mars, or living in fiction.  
 
I learned quickly that Michael and I no longer ruled the roost. All at once, a team of people existed and became part of our daily routines. I found myself in communication with a management company who left weekly notices under my door, a board of directors who decided on the repairs and handled the finances of the co-op, several doormen standing guard, maintenance men, porters, and of course the guy who keeps it all under control while barely breaking a sweat: THE SUPER.
 
Probably millions of New Yorkers can vouch for the importance of great super when living in New York City. The superintendent keeps the halls and common spaces clean, shovels the ice and snow, and maintains the systems and the landscaping. Supers will walk your dog, feed your cat, eliminate creepy crawly things, and reluctantly listen to your problems. An honest, organized, highly capable super makes life in the Big Apple more bearable. The super is the king of kings, the head honcho, the big mahoff.
 
My super travels from apartment to apartment Monday through Friday, handling everything from minor tasks to emergencies. In three years of living here, I’ve yet to see him frazzled, and that includes the threat of Hurricane Irene knocking on our door last summer.
 
Late last night after Michael left town, the bathroom sink stopped draining and started leaking underneath. At midnight, I yanked everything out from under the vanity, dried up the mess, and brushed my teeth in the kitchen. If this plumbing debacle had occurred just a day earlier, Mikey Fix-It Kaler would’ve been able to step in with his tool pouch and take care of business, but timing wasn’t on my side. I needed to figure this out, and fast. Married to a handyman for a decade plus had eliminated even the slightest home improvement challenges. I’d become spoiled.
 
“It’s the “P-trap. You’ll need to call Julio in the morning.” No sound of concern came from the other end of the phone line and he insisted it was an easy fix. Julio is our super, and he’s saved the day on numerous occasions. Surely, he could end the leak and get the water running downhill again.
 
But I had just one question,  “What in the H is a P-trap?”  Since it was a little too late at midnight for plumbing 101, I figured I’d ask another time.

Julio is a super extraordinaire. He’s much more than a building manager. I like to call him ‘Superman’. Calm, cool, and collected, he enters the apartment each time with his handy toolbox and mechanical contraptions. Within thirty minutes, all is back to normal for as normal as a 100-year-old apartment can be. Then he packs up and is off to another residence to save someone else’s day and often prevent catastrophe. On top of his knowledge and efficiency, I am impressed that he never gets dirty.
 
Julio came by this morning with his bag of tricks and gadgets, and made the repair in twenty minutes. It was probably elementary for a jack-of-all-trades or a handyman with a wrench, but not for someone like me whose biggest tool is a flatiron. Obviously, I slept through mechanical systems class in interior design school. I don’t know a P-trap from a mousetrap and I have zero contractor skills, but what I lack in plumbing and electrical abilities, I make up for in decorating.
 
When my husband returns from his trip, I want a lesson in plumbing basics. No worries, I’m not going to attempt to play house again like the old days before life in Manhattan. I’ll leave the playing and the fixing to Julio. My Superman knows best.
 
 
For more city stories, follow me on Twitter, or on Tracy’s New York Life.
 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…