Brent Weingard has battled dirt and grime high above New York City for as far as he can remember. He tells us what his job really involves in this three-minute plus video.
Watch the video and answer the questions below about it.
The activity is suitable for intermediate students.
1 What are the two titles to describe Brent's job?
2 What does '35' refer to?
3 What attitudes towards heights should anyone in this job show?
4 What New York buildings have anchors outside?
5 What three things do professionals use for washing?
6 What is one of Brent's biggest fears?
7 What part of the body suffers the most because of this job?
To check your answers, you can read the transcript below.
You know, I get up in the morning sometimes, and I get out there on the ledge. I just have to say, God! I love the smell of ammonia in the morning.
We are window cleaners. You know, some people will refer to us as window washers and I know they are either not that knowledgeable of this business or they are trying to put us down.
I’ve been working for thirty-five years, primarily here in New York City. I think heights… we never want to take our equipment for granted or our ability to work safely at great heights, so a certain amount of respect for the height and fear can… is healthy.
We take advantage of this door frame, and it’s a very, very good anchor. So if I were to lose my balance, free fall, one foot, this would certainly stop me, out of luck.
In pre-war buildings and buildings that have been properly renovated they have anchors outside of the windows that we can clip on with our window cleaning belt. First time I used the window cleaning belt I remember going out and just hugging the window as much as I would not lean back on that and trust those anchors enough.
For washing, the universal solvent is water. Added to the water we prefer mostly ammonia and just a squirt of Joy for lubrication. I was visiting my grandmother and I was about ready to clean her windows and she said ‘before you put anything in the water I’ve got the best thing for you’ and she pulled out a bottle of Joy dishwashing liquid and I said, ‘grandmother, that’s what the professionals in New York use’ and she says, ‘that’s right, it’s the best stuff’.
I can think of five occasions, were things we dropped, either a pole or squeegee and it is one of my biggest fears, our care not to drop equipment. We sometimes hold that equipment very tightly, tighter than necessary, kind of a dead grip.
I remember when one of my earliest realizations was my hands cramping at night, feeling very sore but I would say the more wear-and-tear for a window cleaner is in the knees. I’ll be ready for knee replacement.
When I was younger, guys, used to say to me or the super ‘you missed a spot’. I guess that’s the oldest joke in the window cleaning industry, but I always took them very seriously and I would always try to find that spot and fix it.
Voila! Looks good, eh?