Pierre of the Plaza Hotel RIP 2008-2009

The Plaza Hotel has been one of New York City’s premier destination since its opening in 1905. Truman Capote held his Black and White fete in the Grand Ballroom, Neil Simon wrote PLAZA SUITE about an afternoon in the hotel, and during the 1978 Black-Out I rushed to the Oak Room for a bucket of ice. The Plaza Hotel was synonymous with wealth and tradition, so when Richie Boy proposed my managing his jewelry store in the new Retail Collection I dreamed of selling 13mm South Sea Pearls to Houston heiresses and pink diamond hearts to Sheiks from the emirates.

It didn’t matter that the Retail Collection was located in the basement or that the hotel was owned by Israelis or that Richie Boy’s partners had hired two women to be co-managers.

This was the Plaza.

Anyone working there coined money.

We opened with a gala event. Black tie and gowns. Our store had over $10,000,000 of merchandise. Diamonds, pearls, emeralds, rubies, sapphires. Jewelry from Italy. I stood in front of the store ready to greet our first customer. A day passed, then a week, then it was November.

The Palm Court upstairs suffered bad food and worst service. It closed before Thanksgiving. El-Ad the owners said they were closing for renovation. The hotel was at 95% capacity. Most of the rooms were packed with Saudis. Only one of them came into the Retail Collection. He asked if i knew where to get a shave. “Not in this hotel.”

El-Ad played one CD in the Retail Collection. The same nine songs. Day after day.

“Welcome to retail hell.” The VP said with a smile.

“Go fuck yourself,” I muttered behind his back.

My expectations for a big Christmas died by the 1st weekend. No customers. Not for our store. Not for anyone else. Everyone was losing money. The Oak Room was busy. It had a reputation, which was tarnished by a savage review in the New York Times. The owners fired the French chef in Jan. and closed to rethink the cuisine until then they were serving $27 hamburgers. $3 extra for cheese.

I made four sales in that month, but also discovered Richie Boy’s partner Mario was stealing from him. One night he took earrings and didn’t bring them back. His story about a sale in LA was a lie. I told him he had better show up with the earrings or else.

He had a lot of people telling him that.

Richie Boy’s other partner started bouncing checks.

The lingerie store closed the beginning of March. Other salespeople asked who would be next. I knew it was us. No business. A partner who’s a thief and another who’s broke. The two girls were let go. Richie Boy said, “Don’t let anyone take anything.”

I hoped to make it to April.

We got as far as March 25.

The Israeli VP asked me for rent. I told him to go fuck himself to his face. He slunk back to his office. I wrote a note on the wall FREE PALESTINE and superglued the CD player on ‘off’. The girls at Demel’s Coffeeshop were sad to see go, but the months at the Retail Collection were like being an extra in THE SHINING 2 without a script, a director, or Jack Nicholson.


And the Oak Room opened as a kosher steak house.

I c an only wish El-Ad to go fuck themselves and ride out of town on a pig.

Fuck-up and I know fuck-ups, because I’m Mr. World Fuck-up 2006.

Seems like I’m in the running for this year’s title too.

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