Bachelors and male divorcees made up a significant slice of our resident population and some of these men decided to live onsite with their girlfriends. Living together with a significant other before making a lifelong commitment can present challenges and on a few different occasions our staff became entangled in domestic disputes and abrupt moveouts. It was extremely awkward for everyone, especially since the freight elevator reservations for move ins/outs passed through our concierge desk. The male owner of the unit also had to come to us to change their “permission to enter” forms, deactivate elevator fobs and in some cases provide us with new house keys after a locksmith had come to change the locks.

I had a genuine rapport with these women and in some cases I liked them a whole lot more than the male owner. It was a difficult goodbye. I would try to express my sympathies for the end of the relationship and then coordinate the move-out to be as pain-free as possible. Two moveouts involved divorces and they were particularly challenging. One involved split custody of a toddler and the mom, our former resident, would make frequent appearances for pick-ups and drop-offs of the little girl. Other than saying “How have you been?” to our former resident and exchanging pleasantries about how fast their adorable child is growing, there isn’t much else to say. Other residents, in passing on the way to the mailroom or the fitness center, would make inquiries about the split, trying to find out if the gossip was true. It often was.

Lastly, many of our residents were baby boomers who had flocked to the city when they realized they no longer had a need for all their suburban square footage. Not having to shovel the driveway after a snowstorm was also very appealing. This active resident population were my parent’s

contemporaries and a subset that I adored. Since they had more disposable income than any other previous generation as they approached retirement it was not surprising they came to our community ready to enjoy all the cultural opportunities that the city had to offer them as well as to travel.

They were also thrilled with the idea of showing off their kids and grandkids, which was not unique to this generation. I loved seeing pictures and hearing firsthand the exciting news when Betsy or Michele’s kids were expecting or when Shirley’s son was getting married. And although I didn’t usually work weekends when residents would mostly entertain family visitors, this evoked a great sense of pride and it was awesome to see our community adapt to having little ones onsite, such as when the endless pool became a “hot tub” experience or the media room doubled as a secondary playroom.

All of these intimate shared experiences with residents were part of the magic of working with the same clientele day in and day out. I found myself becoming worried if Beverly missed her routine Wednesday group yoga class. Or if our mailman Reggie alerted me that someone’s mail was piling up but I knew they hadn’t traveled to Florida that winter. I cried when they lost a beloved pet.


toasted with them when they finally 41

retired. And I tried not to take any of my emotions home with me once my shift was over because tomorrow would be a new day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jamie Cooperstein is CEO of J. Cooperstein Hospitality Consulting, LLC. After having spent a decade as a concierge at both a luxury hotel and a luxury residence, Jamie now passes along her acquired knowledge to employees at a myriad of hospitality businesses using the principles of AAA “Five Diamond” service, which shaped her career, to educate employees who work behind or supervise those that work at front desk counters, host stands, customer service windows, in lobbies or over the phone. Jamie is a CAI Educated Business Parnter and serves as a member of CAI’s Communications & Content Committee and can be contacted via email at:

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