February 27, 2009 / 10:34 PM / 10 years ago

Plaza Hotel doorman bids farewell after 46 years

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - One of New York’s most beloved doormen has called it a day after working more than 40 years at The Plaza Hotel overlooking Central Park.

The Plaza Hotel in New York in a file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Ed Trinka, who was the longest serving porter at the storied hotel, bid farewell in a champagne toast with fellow chauffeurs, doormen and friends this week as he turned 65 years-old.

Known by some as “the mayor of Central Park South,” he provided a friendly greeting and opened the hotel’s gilded doors for a host of big names that ranged from Richard Nixon to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and The Beatles.

“I have had a wonderful 46 years and I have never had a bad day at work,” he told Reuters before a farewell party in the hotel’s Oak Room bar that included the illustrator of the “Eloise” books, Hilary Knight.

Trinka began working at The Plaza, which last year completed a $400 million renovation that converted many of its rooms to luxury condominiums, in 1963. Apart from vacations, his only other break was to serve in the Vietnam war.

Although he had met too many famous people to name favorites, Nixon was “one of the nicest men I have met,” he said.

He also fondly recalled the actor John Voight asking for Trinka’s own autograph.

The renovations and scaling back of the hotel’s rooms to 282 guest rooms alongside 181 private units was better than a “Band-Aid solution”, he said.

“It’s progress,” he added in a New Jersey accent. “The world is changing and we have to change with it.”

But he admitted the job of a New York doorman — which he called “the eyes and ears of the world” — is not what it used to be in a faster paced world.

“People expect more now and are more demanding,” he said.

His first name is Edwin, but people called him Ed or Eddie. He commuted daily from New Jersey and is now single. His wife of 33 years Isa, who once worked as a nanny at the hotel, passed away in 2003.

His only future plan for now, he said, was to take his grandchildren to the circus — and keep chasing the women.

“It’s all about the ladies, I am a bachelor now,” he said.

Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Patricia Reaney

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