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Authors: Michael Fazio

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We introduced ourselves and made small talk, and soon I was telling him what it was that I did. “How did you come up with that?” he asked me.

“Well, I worked at the InterContinental for a hundred years. So what do you do?”

“I build hotels.”

“Oh, wow! That's
. Any hotel that I would know?” I asked, thinking he was going to tell me about some new Marriott Courtyard off Exit 26.

“The InterContinental.”

“You work with InterContinental?”

“No, I work with Tishman Hotel Group. We're the developer of hotels, and we're partners with them on the brand-new InterContinental in Times Square.”

One of the things I learned from Dolores was to keep things from getting intense. After it was clear that we had something in common—he worked in hotels, and I wanted to return to hotels—I changed the subject to something frivolous. I emailed Rob when I came back to the city on Monday, hoping to explore what we talked about.

I went to his office, and we had a meeting about the new InterContinental. It was going to be a complete departure from their usual model: They're almost always in business districts and Times Square is touristy. But their vision was basically that, even if you
at the InterContinental, you wind up doing half of what you do near Times Square anyway. So why
bring the InterContinental to Times Square? They even brought in Jeffrey Beers, an architect known for designing cool, trendy places. They were branching out of their comfort zone—and thinking that it's hard to figure out the concierge piece.

I told Rob's team what Abigail Michaels could do for them, and they agreed to our offer. It's the same role that I'd filled for years, but somewhat in reverse. Yes, there definitely will be a uniform involved. But, much like everything else I get, I'll be getting it for someone else.


The key to being a concierge is knowledge; knowing your client, knowing your city, and knowing how to gain access. But the best places are often free and open to the public—you just have to know about them.

And now you do, too.

(East 17th Street): A play on a hot dog stand. Delicious gourmet sausages served in a hollowed-out baguette with AMAZING sauces.

Ace Hotel Lobby Bar
(West 29th Street): It feels like a college library at the University of Hipster. It also helps that Stumptown coffee is practically a drug.

Second Cemetery of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue
(72–76 West 11th Street): The headstones are almost completely eroded except for faint shadows of Hebrew on the twenty sites. A calming detour on crazy days.

(West 24th Street): A supplier and showroom for Lucite furniture. It's a bit of a journey back to shop class.

(West 28th Street): A florist supply store in New York “flower district,” which is just one block long. Prop central for anytime I'm putting together a party or in need of anything visual—from nautilus shells to bamboo trays to colored LED lights that you can drop in cocktails for a disco effect.

Bookmarks, the Rooftop Lounge at the Library Hotel
(Madison Avenue): A secret little atrium room on the roof of a prewar and very chic hotel.

CB I Hate Perfume
(Williamsburg, Brooklyn): A “scent gallery” that sells perfumes which smell like real things and evoke a time and place. Try “Burning Leaves” or “In the Library.”

(St. Marks Place) This is mixology, not bartending. It stands for Please Don't Tell. I wouldn't have told, but it's two years old now, so I imagine the secret is out.

The Roger Williams Hotel
(Madison Avenue): The second-floor terrace bar is always empty, and is my favorite quiet meeting place. Very European.

Baked by Melissa
(14th Street): Barbie-size cupcakes from a Barbie-size storefront.

Economy Candy
(Rivington Street): Hundred-dollar chocolate truffles are great. But sometimes you just want to have Pop Rocks or Pez or all the great old-fashioned candy from the past.

(Bowery): Breakfast pizza. Need I say more?

Per Se
(Columbus Circle): Hardly a secret, it will normally set you back $350 per person. However, you can go for a drink and just nibble on truffle oil popcorn. (It's the most delicious thing I've ever had.)

Food Trucks
): LOJACK technology on gourmet food trucks makes it completely possible to find the most geographically desirable chicken briochette or ginger slush or artisanal ice cream.

Waterside Plaza
: I'm really not sure I should say anything, but this is the
place to see the fireworks on July Fourth. They're not great at keeping it “residents only” so just blend in with the crowd. (It's rent-subsidized, so don't wear your Lilly Pulitzer coordinates.)

St. Francis Xavier Church
(West 16th Street): One of the most beautiful, original, historical churches in the city. They have a soup kitchen that feeds the homeless and there's something peaceful about going inside the chapel. It's like a museum in Rome, but you would never know from the outside.

Lady Mendl's
(Irving Place): A little spot of tea? Pardon me while I sing “I'm an Englishman in New York.”

Clic Gallery
(Lafayette Street): A great place for interesting coffee table books that you won't find everywhere. They also have great art exhibits that are very high style, but not crazy expensive. My favorite part is the French lady who owns it.

You don't have to be rich or fancy to visit any of these places. And best of all, you don't have to worry about telling them that Michael sent you or giving me a tip.

This one's on the house.


What I intended as a temporary job became the best professional adventure of my life, and I had great help along the way. My cherished friend, Tom Leonardis, discovered that my crazy profession was interesting enough for the radio. Whoopi Goldberg shared her enthusiasm about me with many, many people. The two of them brought me to a place where I began to truly love and appreciate my job, and the public began to see the bigger picture of what I do.

My amazingly smart and funny collaborator, Michael Malice, patiently coaxed the good dirt out of me and then put it all together in a way that makes sense. Your intelligent talent and razor-sharp wit made this process flawlessly professional and great fun. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that I would get to work with an editor as amazing as Elizabeth Beier. Thank you for directing this with your intelligent sense of humor and integrity. Kirby Kim is the perfect agent. I admired the fact that he never cut me from his call list, and I am truly thankful that he connected all the dots to make this happen.

Cara Stein, Suzy Unger, Scott Lonker, Glenn Meehan, Stu Sigel, Tony Tackaberry, and Adam Steinman were generous enough to entertain my concept in all of its incarnations. I hope they know that I don't take their time and energy for granted. Rob Weisbach encouraged me to put pencil to paper and connected me with a great writing coach, David Groff. Richard Abate listened to my thirty-second elevator pitch and said, “Yes, there's a book here.” Call me anytime you need a table anywhere.

For eight healing years of therapy, Jack Tuchman deserves credit for talking me down from the edge when I thought that selling widgets would be a healthier career choice.

It was the early adopters who gave Abigail Michaels Concierge a chance to prove that people value good service: Jay Hennick, David Epstein, Michael Mendillo, David Kuperberg, Gene Gomberg, Peter Gordon, Frank Peditto, Josh Creel, Kamran Hakim, Steve Kass, Wendy Bosalovege, and Steven Charno. Special thanks to my business partner, Abbie Newman—it's a great journey to share with you. There is so much that has become possible because I have an amazing team of concierges at Abigail Michaels Concierge. I respect and admire each of you, and I'm so grateful that you bring such passion and talent to what you do. Daria Dooling, you are the glue and so much more.

Once upon a time, I dreamed of being a famous singer. Thank you, Dad, for being my collaborator of dreams and then supporting my change in plans. Thank you, Mom, for sewing those amazing sequined shirts—and for becoming a master of Salesforce and Excel and for being our honorary CFO. Thanks to my brother and three sisters for being so interested in all my crazy ideas. Selma Brody: If it ever becomes legal, you will be my mother-in-law. And Uncle Joe: You were right to advise me to focus on writing.

For someone who claims not to have dreams, Jeffrey Brody has certainly made mine come true.


I wouldn't be where I am without Harvey Pekar.

I would also like to thank Elizabeth Beier, Kirby Kim, and of course, Michael Fazio. Warm thanks as well to Team Hughes/Moore/Adams/Chiles.

You need a mess of help to stand alone. I had Stephie Russell, Harjit Jaiswal, Andrea Jamison, Lux Alptraum, Beth Arzy, Dashiell Bennett, David Buer, Jerry Chu, Dave Cirilli, Molly Crabapple, L. B. Deyo, Katelan Foisy, John Girgus, Nadine Haobsh, Dax Herrera, Scooter Honig, Annette Knezevic, Paul Kodila, Lefty Leibowitz, Lauren Leto, Dave Lucas, Maddox, Judy McGuire, Scott Nybakken, Lisa Qiu, Lisa Ronson, Jeremie Ruby-Strauss, Heidi Schmid, Todd Seavey, Caitlin Sheehan, Rachel Shukert, Rachel Sklar, Mandy Stadtmiller, Corynne Steindler, Flora Stepansky, Alexis Tirado, and Kiki Valentine.

Finally I want to thank Asbeel, whose story remains untold.



Copyright © 2011 by Michael Fazio with Michael Malice. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Fazio, Michael.

Concierge confidential / Michael Fazio with Michael Malice.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-0-312-64376-8

  1.  Fazio, Michael.   2.  Personal concierges.   3.  New York (N.Y.)   I.  Malice, Michael.   II.  Title.

HD9999.P3942F39   2011



First Edition: February 2011

eISBN 978-1-4299-2929-5

First St. Martin's Press eBook Edition: February 2011

BOOK: Concierge Confidential
10.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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