“They had my favorite disco musicians perform, Ashford and Simpson, who came out of a clamshell,” Merjian recalls referring to the bubbly pop duo. “I called my mom and said, ‘I’m entering the catering world. I don’t know what it is, but my office will be the great ballroom of the Waldorf. ‘”
That is, for 14 years, when he worked on staging allowances and birthday parties.
Now, even though Waldorf is closed for a makeover from start to finish, the hotel’s managers have chosen him as the winner. oral history contest. A spokeswoman said it’s open to former employees (but not current ones) “because we want to hear as many first-person stories as possible from people who actually live there. ”
Merjian’s memory of winning the contest is about Frank Sinatra, who lived in Waldorf in the 1970s in what used to be Cole Porter’s suites. Merjian was introduced to Sinatra after helping to plan a Brothers’ Club event for Sinatra’s fourth wife, Barbara. “I said,” Mr. S., I’ve been a fan of yours since I was probably 12,” recalls Merjian, now general manager and chief executive officer of Pelham Country Club in Pelham, NY“ he said, “” Nice to meet you, kid. I am looking forward to a wonderful evening. ‘”
It must have been, because a few years later, the hotel assigned Merjian to coordinate the party for Sinatra’s 75th birthday. He had to brainstorm: Why not close the lobby for everyone but 200 invited guests. “We never closed it for anyone,” he said, “but we did it for Frank.” And when Sinatra’s managers asked someone passing through the hotel’s Park Avenue entrance to say “Frankie’s Place” on the night of the party, he made a cardboard that would fit the Waldorf sign.
He also worked on President Bill Clinton’s 50th birthday party. “Hillary asked me to find a birthday cake maker,” he said. (He recommends the bakery William Greenberg Desserts.) By chance, Merjian left for St. Regis shortly after Sinatra’s death in 1998 and worked there until it closed during the pandemic.
The prize in the competition is a weekend at the Waldorf after it reopens next year. Merjian said he was looking forward to getting married, Heide. They met as colleagues and got married on the famous Starlight Roof.
During this time, they will have to wear bathing suits if they return to the same place. “The place we got married is swim“When the renovation was complete, he said, ‘but that’s okay'”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/31/nyregion/albany-pandemic-lobbyists.html Albany’s Story: Drinks to Go, Pandemic and Lobbyists