Camu moved into a corner, one-bedroom apartment at Zara Realty’s 87-50 167th Street property in 2009 after living in Bay Ridge for 24 years. While living in Brooklyn, he and wife Maribeth always had plans to move into a different neighborhood and experience a new community.
The building is located in an area that incorporates several South Asian, Latino and Caribbean cultures, which shows in the shops and restaurants.
Originally from the Philippines, Camu he moved to the United States in 1985 after pursuing three college degrees and a master’s degree in economics. Throughout his career, he has worked as a nurse at Lutheran Hospital, worked at an office in the Garment District, and later joined a limousine business in 1998.
During his ten-year stint as a limo driver, he worked with celebrities such as Sarah-Jessica Parker, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Ewing, Tom Cruise and Olivia Newton-John.
In 2008, he was forced to retire early after an accident. He sustained a broken back and damaged nerves. In 2012, he had five bypass surgeries.
“I was given a five percent chance to live, but I beat the odds,” Camu said, adding that the five-year anniversary of his heart surgeries is coming up in September.
Most of his time is spent within the home. The spacious apartment is adorned with seasonal Japanese art, precious Victorian figurines, and his awards, as well as a crown and a trophy his wife received when she won Miss Phillipines years ago.
The couple also tends to an indoor garden featuring plants such as white orchids and various mini-trees that sit in front of large picture window overlooking the neighborhood.
Camu can still do the small fixes around the apartment on his own. Whenever he has a bigger issue, he reaches out to management. For example, at his request management put up extra signs and security to prevent strangers from entering the building.
“You hear on TV that people get raped and mugged all the time in their apartment building,” he said. “I don’t want it to be like that here, so I look out for the community.”
And it's a community he feels comfortable in.
“The building is near transportation, shopping mall, hospital, banks, church and government offices,” Camu said. “On top of that, I’m only one block from my doctor’s office and the grocery store is right below us. Everything is right here.”
When his wife retires in three or four years, the couple are planning on splitting their time between New York and the Philippines. For now, they continue to enjoy their oasis in the city while they travel and explore the world.
Sponsored by Zara Realty.