It’s customary for residents of doorman-staffed buildings to show appreciation with an annual holiday gift. However, one local porter received something last week that would cause most people’s skin to crawl.
As previously reported by Patch, a porter at 37 West 72nd Street was pelted with a box full of cockroaches on December 28. It is not known where the pests came from or how the porter reacted. However, it is believed that the vermin surprise stemmed from a tenant-staff feud.
The 16-story, 92-unit building has at least one landlord (Magdalena Kosz) who earned the discommodious distinction of being named to 2023’s Worst Landlord List. It also has 41 open violations including some related to mice, mold, and lead-based paint grievances dating back to 2019.
Five out of 45 complaints involved reports of roaches in public hallways and four different apartments. The most recent roach-related complaint is dated December 2, 2023 and still has an open status as of writing. Two other complaints lodged on the same day – one for pests cited in the public hall and another within an apartment unit – were reportedly corrected and closed. Apartment-specific complaints made in June and November were both closed as well.
The 1929 high-rise – which initially included numbers 35 and 39 West 72nd Street – is the only pre-war structure to survive the mid-1920s demolition of private homes along the northern side of this block between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. Real estate operator Richard E. La Barre purchased 35 and 37 and formed the 37 West Seventy-second Corporation. The current red-brick property has stood ever since.
As can likely be imagined for some of the city’s older structures, 37 West 72nd Street had a bit of an odd history before the roach-pelting incident last week.
Well-heeled resident and lawyer Julius Girden killed a six-year-old in 1930 after he ran him over along Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side. Girden was reportedly unaware until he heard a woman screaming as he drove along.
The most notorious person to be associated with the building may be Harry Glaser, a turn-of-the-century vaudeville actor turned doorman turned murderer. Glaser was employed as a doorman by 37 West 72nd for about six years. He lived with his common-law wife, Mona, in a three-room apartment at 88 Amsterdam Avenue (near West 64th Street).
In November 1935, both were battling drug addiction at the time he shot her to death as she lay in bed. Glaser then shot himself twice. “One of the bullets entered Glaser’s left breast and the other had lodged against his right temple,” the New York Times reported. He survived his self-inflicted wounds.
As for the roach-hurling tenant, the NYPD informed ILTUWS that no arrests have been made.