By Claudie Benjamin

Ramon Arroyo has been the super of two Upper West Side buildings, 210 West 94th Street and 2568-2574 Broadway at 97th Street for about 30 years.  He’s seen many changes both in the gentrification of the neighborhood and in creative apartment renovations. Not only that, he’s been there for the gorgeous renovation of the lobbies by the owners of the buildings.

Ramon has been immersed in repairs and painting of all the apartments in these buildings through the years. He appreciates the bold and distinctive transformation of the lobbies. He knows these buildings like the back of his hand. He and his wife raised their family of three children in a basement apartment on 97th Street. Ramon has great memories of his children and their friends hanging out at that apartment.

When that building was sold about five years ago, the Arroyos, their kids now grown, moved to the 94th Street location where they still live.

The building at 97th Street was in very bad shape when Ramon first encountered it. The owners at the time had been unable to get a bank loan to cover the replacement cost of new windows. They hired Ramon to manage repairs and bring everything under control in order to secure that funding. His efforts were successful and also resulted in his recruitment to a career as a super. How did he acquire the qualifying skills?

Born and raised in Manhattan, Ramon is from a Puerto Rican family. After graduating from high school and a brief stint at Farmington University on Long Island, he worked for ten years as a disc jockey in clubs. He then took a job that engaged his aptitude for what he describes as, “fixing anything that needs fixing.” Over two years, he learned repair and construction skills while employed by a contractor for the city renovating apartments.

Some years later after the building was acquired by Anne and Arthur Gumowitz (AAG) came the biggest most impressive changes when both buildings, first the one on 94th Street and then two years later, the 97th Street address were renovated. Ramon says Anne (who passed away in 2017) had traveled widely in Europe and infused the lobbies with a polished hotel-like spirit. She renamed the building on 94th Street, the Van Gogh, and appropriately had framed prints of the artist’s work hung in the lobby. Similarly, at the entry to the 226-230 West 97th Street building, a passion for art, and specifically Picasso is reflected with about a dozen Picasso prints hanging on the lobby walls which are all about glowing polished wood. Expert lighting shows off the marble floors and detailing of gleaming elevator banks. Most surprising is the wrought iron lettering of the word “Barcelona” over the entry at 97th Street. “The owner loved Barcelona. So, she renamed the building,” Ramon explains.

Another change in the 97th Street building that might surprise the casual observer is the addition of a seventh floor providing three penthouses. Ramon notes that a 2008 New York Times article on the addition was titled “Long Island in Manhattan” because the penthouses’ gabled roofs, Ramon says, reminded the reporter (who viewed them from their apartment across Broadway) of homes on Long Island.


1) Super Ramon Arroyo

2) “Barcelona” wrought iron sign over the 97th Street entry

3) Lobby boasts many Picasso prints 

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