Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Meet Our 9/11 Heroes at the Radisson Martinique

Leigh Gilmore and her mother, Faye, would have likely died in the 9/11 attacks if not for the quick thinking of two strangers.
"They are total heroes," Faye said of Greg Frederick and Arnulfo Ponce, two hotel employees who helped evacuate them from the World Trade Center complex.

On that day, the two women were among hundreds inside the 22-story Marriott Hotel, which was located in 3 World Trade Center in between the twin towers.
When the attacks happened, the Marriott's elevators and phones stopped working. Leigh, who has multiple sclerosis and depends on a wheelchair, had no way to escape. She and her mother waited in the hotel's fifth floor hallway as other guests fled.

"Everybody that came past I would say, 'Please tell them in the lobby that I'm up here,'" said Leigh, 50. "I felt like no one knows I'm here." An agonizing half hour passed, but still no one came to help Leigh and Faye.
Suddenly, with the situation growing desperate, Marriott engineer Greg Frederick appeared. He and his boss, Arnulfo Ponce, had helped Leigh with her room two days earlier. Despite everything that was happening around him, Frederick remembered where Leigh was.

"It was chaos," said Frederick, 43. "For some reason, I thought of Ms. Gilmore, and I had a bad feeling that this lady is up there."
Frederick used the hotel's freight elevator, which was still working, to bring the women down to the lobby. They separated, and moments later, the first twin tower collapsed on top of the hotel, decimating it. Faye and Leigh had barely escaped with their lives.

"Good Lord, these men saved our lives," said Faye. "They took the time to come and check on us. They could have easily just run for their lives."
In the years after 9/11, Frederick and Ponce talked often about Leigh and Faye, though they did not know the women's names or what had happened to them. The mystery haunted them.

"I thought they were dead, but I knew they had a chance of surviving," said Ponce, who was the hotel's chief engineer. "But I never heard from them."
It would be eight years before Ponce and Frederick would get their answers. Last month, they saw Leigh and Faye featured in the History Channel documentary "Hotel Ground Zero." "Tears started coming out of my eyes," said Ponce, 49.

The four eventually got in contact when the men flew from New York to Chicago for a reunion party at Faye's home. "I'm alive because of you!" said Leigh as she hugged Frederick for the first time.
There were tears and laughter at the reunion. And for these four people joined by fate, there was also a sense of relief. "It brought closure to emptiness inside my heart," said Ponce. "I feel like these two women are part of my family now."

Arnulfo Ponce and Greg Frederick, after their heroic endeavors during the World Trade Center attacks, joined us at the Radisson Martinique as part of our engineering staff. We are honored and privileged to have these two courageous men as part of the Martinique family.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Guide to NYC Tipping & Sales Tax

Photo: Methuselah Choi

Tipping Let’s face it. It’s not always fun to tack a few extra bucks of your hard-earned money onto a bill. But since New Yorkers in the service industries (hotels, restaurants and transportation) have tips factored into their wages, tips are expected and greatly appreciated. You don’t have to go overboard, but be sure to show the love for great New York City service. Here's how much you should tip:

• Hotel doorman: $1 for hailing a cab.
• Porters and bellhops: $1–$2 per bag.
• Housekeeping: $1–$2 per day of your visit, or as much as $5 per day.
• Wait staff and bartenders: 15–20% of total bill.
• Taxi drivers: 15–20% of total fare.
• Hairdressers: 15–20% of total service cost.
• Tips for other service personnel, such as theater ushers, tour guides and coat-check staff, are always appreciated.

One more thing: if you’re having drinks at a bar, bartenders typically expect at least a $1 tip for every drink they serve you. Later on, when the bar gets crowded, you’ll be glad that the bartender remembers you!

Sales Tax
Buyer beware: while the price tag may say one thing, prices marked typically don’t include tax. New York City sales tax on goods and services is 8.875%. But there are a few exceptions:

• No sales tax on food items purchased at grocery stores, or on prescription drugs.
• No sales tax on clothing or footwear under $110.

Information courtesy of NYCGO