8 Tough Short Guys In NYC You Should Know


By Harold Everton

Published August 2015

There is a socially constructed myth that shorter men are at an evolutionary disadvantage because their taller counterparts are more agile, stronger and therefore better suited for warding off attackers. With overwhelming scientific evidence supporting that short men live longer, are wittier, can get to the ground quicker and can pack on muscle much faster, who is to say that a short guy is less capable of protecting you? There are plenty of professional short professional athletes in Football (Darren Sprawls), Basketball (David Robinson), Baseball (Jose Altuve) and Boxing (Floyd Mayweather) who kick ass every day and show us just that.


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Well, we walked around New York City looking for every day short men who have been hired to serve and protect in jobs where their life is on the line every day; where just being able to clock out unscathed is a blessing unto itself. We didn’t have to look too long. These men are on every street corner, every block and every crevice you could think of. They fight crime, protect the homeland, put out fires and even pave the way for the leaders of tomorrow.  They are husbands, ex-husbands, lovers, confidants and friends. Here they are folks, eight tough short guys in New York City you should know. We plan on running several entries in the “Short Guys You Should Know" series.


1. Dean Garcia
    Occupation: Police Officer. Transit District 11, Bronx
    Height: 5’4

Officer Dean Garcia has been on the force for almost 3 years working around one of the toughest jurisdictions in New York City, the South Bronx. Working with his partner when we came across him in the Fordham Road station on the Grand Concourse Subway Line, Garcia catches fare beaters, protects citizens from harm and keeps our subways safe. When asked if his height has ever been an advantage, he smiled and let us know that he’s quick, has a rock solid frame and has never had a problem holding his own or dealing with rambunctious individuals, alone or with his work partner.

2. Officer Gambardelli
    Occupation: Police Officer. 25th Precinct, Manhattan
    Height: 5’6

Officer Gambardelli has worked in the 25th Precinct in Harlem for over a decade. He is a married man of a few years. His wife teaches kids in the Bronx, many of whom fall in the category of economically disadvantaged. We ran into Officer Gambardelli walking the beat with his partner on one of Harlem’s main arteries, the famous 125th street. When we asked him if there were any advantages to being a shorter police officer or if there were any setbacks while going through the academy, both him and his partner laughed. After the chuckles dwindled, Gambardelli responded with a serious tone. He said that being shorter is huge advantage when policing. You can get in and cuff people up easier and because you are closer to the ground, you have a lower center of gravity which is an advantage in the event of a fight making it easier to ward off hooligans. As he was chatting with us, his much taller partner shook his head in complete agreement. Finally, Gambardelli let us know that he was on the receiving end of jokes while in the academy, but it was nothing that his wit couldn’t handle.


3. Officer Gaurdino
    Occupation: Police Officer. Transit District 1, Manhattan
    Height: 5’7

4. Sargent Segot
    Occupation: Police Sargent. Transit District 1, Manhattan
    Height: 5'6

We came across both officers in the Times Square subway station meaning they worked for Transit District one. While both were reluctant to chat with us, they quickly opened up when we explained why we were doing this story. The conversation started with “Are you calling me short?” which was followed by a laugh. Gaurdino and Segot have been on the force for ten and two years respectively. Both are married and enjoy doing what they do. Segot made it a point to tell everyone to stay in school and pursue your education as far as you can, because even as a police officer, more education is an advantage. They went on to remind us that 60 college credits are required in order to join the Police Academy.


5. Specialist Bony
    Occupation: National Guard
    Height: 5’6

While running frantically through Penn Station to catch the 2 Train after getting off of the Long Island Railroad, we came across Specialist Bony alongside his work partner. Both Brandished M-16s, walkie-talkies and a bunch of other equipment. Bony’s hardened facial expressions and short responses let us know how serious he is about his job but with his partner’s permission, he was more than happy to divulge some info. He let us know that he trains by running 7 miles a day and that as a shorter guy, obstacles in training are a bit tougher, but nothing that he couldn't get past. He advised shorter guys who are interested in joining the guard to always watch their weight. The Brooklyn native is single and enjoying a healthy dating life as he put it. He has 4 years under his belt on the National Guard.


6. Specialist Henderson 
    Occupation: National Guard
    Height: 5’4

7. Private First Class Yunus
: National Guard
    Height: 5'5

Both of these national guardsmen were patrolling Grand Central Terminal in the late evening when we came across them. When we told them about our site their curiosity turned into a lengthy conversation as per the permission of their boss who was nearby. Specialist Henderson has been with the National Guard for two years and loves every minute of it while Private First Class Yunus joined the guard 18 months ago. They both recanted how being short is an advantage in many situations. They told us that in order to be a Tanker, you couldn’t be more than 6’1, but in order to be a pilot, you have to be at least 5’6. Both said they were extremely comfortable with their height and took advantage of the edge they have in certain situations due to their stature. Henderson mentioned that in tactical situations, it’s much easier to hide your body as well as easier to get fit pound for pound. Henderson talked about dating taller women and having success doing so while Yunus said he’d only go an inch taller because he’d rather be the taller one in the relationship. Both enjoy their job and said they wouldn’t have it any other way as they’re enjoying life and love doing what they do.

8. Fireman Darren
    Occupation: Firefighter (FDNY)
    Height: 5’5

While in Queens Village, a suburban middle class town on the outskirts of New York City, we walked into the neighborhoods only firehouse unannounced with the quest of finding out if they happened to have any short firemen working there. After introducing ourselves to two firemen working in the front and assuring them that this wasn’t a “joke”, they both literally snapped their fingers and said “Darren would be perfect for this” and were very supportive of our endeavor. Fireman Darren came out from the back of the firehouse skeptical at first thinking we were doing some kind of prank, but then expressed excitement when we explained what we were doing. At this point all of the fireman spoke about how they play pranks on one another from time to time. None of them get offended as they all have a strong camaraderie.


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Darren took us under his wing and walked us around the firehouse. He began telling us that the FDNY had a 5’8 height requirement that disappeared in the mid-60s as they began accepting women into the department. He said that being short is a huge advantage in a lot of dangerous situations. “In fires for example, being closer to the ground is an advantage you see, breathe and maneuver better since smoke and heat rise. 5’5 to 6 feet is about a 7 inch difference and that can make all of the difference in moving around in an area affected by fire”.  He then contrasted this with some disadvantages, namely using hooks to break through areas in a ceiling.  

He went onto say that one of the greatest things about being short is that people underestimate you. He recalled his high school days as a wrestler and winning many matches because many of his taller opponents thought they immediately had the upper hand. Fireman Darren has been married for many years to his wife who stands at 5’9. We are working on getting a picture of Darren published after we get clearance from the FDNY per Darren’s request. 


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