A Zoom Retirement Party

A beloved porter in an UWS building gets a virtual sendoff

30 Mar 2020 | 02:36

Gregorio/Gregory/Greg Martinez came to work on the last Sunday in March to say goodbye to the brooms and buckets that are the tools of his work, and also for a Zoom retirement party.

After more than 25 years working as a porter at the Savannah 250 West 89th Street, Martinez and his wife, Leyda, are taking off for Tampa. “She can’t wait,” he said to the hidden camera.

A lobby retirement party with drinks and food was knocked out by Covid-19, but the virus was no match for Zoom. With about 20 inexperienced electronic attendees in the building or outside the city, the message was, “We love you, we’ll miss you, and thank you, Greg.”

Greg, 65, came to work at the Savannah after almost a decade at the Plaza Hotel, and after giving up his own local business, a store on 104th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam. Originally from the Dominican Republic, he has lived on West 165th St. since he arrived in New York. On Sunday he was all smiles when he described how happy he has been at his job and how much the residents mean to him.

“I love them all,” he said about the apartment owners and tenants in this first-name-basis building. And the feeling is mutual; everybody loves him.

Via Zoom, Deniz Ozenbas welcomed “the chance not only to wish a beloved employee well,” but also to share her thoughts with neighbors. Cindy Hsu, Channel 2 news anchor, recalled Greg’s help when she moved so her daughter Rosie would have her own room.

“While we’re extremely happy for Gregory as he enters retirement, the Savannah community is sad to see him go," said board president Rob Fink. "For over 25 years Gregory was a friendly and cheerful presence, who was always willing to go the extra yard to help a resident or colleague. He will be sorely missed.”

Building manager Mike Norat, who hired Greg, described him as “excellent.”

When the party was over, there was only one thing missing (besides the cake and champagne): No hugs. The staff have their own event planned for Greg’s sendoff - even if they have to be six feet apart.

The message was, “We love you, we’ll miss you, and thank you, Greg.”