Title: Concierge, The Surrey
Born & Bred: Washington DC. But I like to tell people I wasn't brought up in the States — just the District.
Why New York City? I came originally to be a singer-actor-dancer way back before the turn of the century, in 1991.
Lingua Franca: English and a little Spanish. I’m trying to learn Portuguese right now. It's incredible how many Brazilian guests we get.
Could be confused for: You know the gay guy on Six Feet Under, the one who also plays the serial killer on Dexter?
On your iPod right now? A whole lot of big band. Connee Boswell, Dorothy Lamour and Al Bowlly to name a few. The soaring tunes of the 30’s and 40’s are a great accompaniment to the backdrop of New York City.
Secret talent: I can tap dance a little, so when you see me flapping up Madison Avenue in my two-tone spectators, please say hi!
Private passions: Hiking and “camping” — literally and figuratively — at my retro cabin in The Poconos. I'm also infatuated with all things Art Deco, and belong to The Art Deco Society of New York.
How you got into this racket: I was working at The Pierre as a cashier, right across from the concierge desk. They were always so busy but you could help them by hitting star-seven on the phone and answering their line, which I did with ever-growing fervor. I applied three times to be concierge before I won Employee of The Year — which finally convinced my General Manager to allow me to transfer. That was 15 years ago.
Best ever advice: Learn exact phone numbers and street addresses by heart. It saves tons of time and sometimes impresses the guests.
Favorite A-List guest: I can’t say for The Surrey (confidentiality disclaimer and all). But at my last hotel I loved Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. They are lovely, down-to-earth people who were absolute heaven to serve. I will put this out there too: If they ever want to come to The Surrey, I will take very good care of them.
Most magical moment on the job: There was this family whose daughter called hysterically looking for her midterm papers. They'd already checked out of the hotel and she'd left them in various piles about the room. Well, the room attendant had presumed they were garbage and discarded them. So I went down to the basement and rolled up my sleeves and pants, and dug through nine bales of stinky, compacted garbage. And I found her papers. She was so grateful, she cried.
The one thing that makes a good concierge: Without the ability to multi-task, things would quickly fall apart.
Most common misconception: That you are always getting free dinners, and being chauffeured around in a Mercedes. Ha! I wish.
If you weren't loving the concierge life: I would be a big band singer, or a scuba diving instructor in Key West, or I'd buy an old streamlined diner somewhere.
Can't travel without: It's not what I can’t travel without, its what I can’t travel with — and that’s a lot of luggage. I carry only a small carry-on, even if I travel abroad. I feel if I need anything extra, then I can just buy it at my destination.
Home away from home: My cabin in The Poconos. It's just two hours' drive from New York and a lot easier than getting to The Hamptons. It's not at all snobby, and you can totally relax and do "normal people things" like barbecue in your backyard, water your garden or just enjoy some clean mountain air.
Title: Concierge, The Surrey