Doormen are a staple of New York City living. This friendly bunch (especially so around the holiday time) greet you, announce guests, sign for packages, accept your dry cleaning deliveries, hail cabs and more.
If you want to live in a doorman building, make sure you find out if the uniformed staff member in the lobby of the building is actually a doorman! There are many levels of service in buildings and not all staff are full-scale doormen that will accept packages or announce guests. Many buildings choose a cheaper option and employ a security guard in the lobby, or even in some cases a virtual doorman (audio visual security run from a remote location).
Many buildings also distinguish between doormen and concierges. A concierge building has multiple staff members in the lobby at once, and they will usually go above and beyond the call of typical doorman duty, including dog-walks and setting up appointments for you.
Decide which service level you are looking for and find out what is provided by your potential new building. Some renters or buyers can’t live without a full-service doorman, while others prefer to save on cost and find a building with little or no staff at all. In general, apartments in doorman buildings are about 20% more expensive than elevator buildings. Either way, make sure to find out what is provided ahead of time so you feel confortable in your new home!