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
International

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth pulls off epic photobomb

The selfie / photobomb has gone viral.

Local

Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.

Local

NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Entertainment

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.

Television

Kacy Catanzaro credits mind over body in "American…

Kacy Catanzaro credits her victory to mental focus and upper body strength.

Entertainment

Q&A: The brains behind 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood'

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. We talked with Christopher Locke of Glu Canada to find out more about developing the game.

Movies

The 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer is…

Watch 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…