This past fall, amidst this downturn in our economy, I happened to find myself in the middle of a full frontal restoration of one of my townhouse properties in Brooklyn. This was not the easiest of times to be involved with an expensive undertaking , especially as the very business in which I earn my living was basically, ”Looking from the end of the diving board at a pool with no water.”
The job entailed numerous trades. There was stripping the 1906 brick building back to the original brick, full re-pointing, ripping off the large front stoop and having it rebuilt all the way to finish brownstone veneer coat, painting all the ornate cast iron details (lintels and sills) of the doors and windows, reworking below the stoop entry and door, and rebuilding the parapet wall and steps to the small gated area below that costly front stoop (also brownstone). Also needed, was painting to match that beautiful cast detailing, the main door entry and its enclosure, the intricately detailed wood cornice at the top of the façade, and the entire fire escape. Lastly, after coordinating with the parks department for the recommended size of the tree-enclosure for the sidewalk (the old one was completely blown apart by the tree roots over the years), an entire new sidewalk was poured on this steeply sloped street in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
Then there was Uri, my trusty locksmith. A happy fellow, Uri and I have known each other for almost a decade, he once called the cops for me as I successfully prevented a tenant gone bad (drugs) from re-entering my property, but that is a whole other story. On this day, Uri reminded me about something very key to life. Uri and I were chatting and he said, and I paraphrase, “Ah, Mr. Bowen, in the middle of these times here you are improving your properties. You have done much over the years, continually working on your buildings, it is sure to pay off for you.”
This was perhaps the finest accolade that I have received from anyone this past year and it meant more to me than most thanks or congratulations that I have ever received in my life. There was just something so undeniably real about being on the street with my happy-go lucky locksmith and having him take the time to recount what has been ten years of a simple and very productive business relationship.
I like working with Uri and I recommend him all the time. He works for Champion Locksmith. He has been a key player for me over the years, but on that day last fall he gave me a key that I will remember for a lifetime.