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It will be years before the full effect of Amazon’s HQ2 on area real estate can be grasped, but there are already some trends in the market that indicate how it will change in the coming months and years.
In the wake of the company’s November announcement that it would open a second campus in Long Island City, prices have stopped falling and started rising in the Queens waterfront enclave, while neighborhoods as far afield as Forest Hills have started being advertised for their proximity to the forthcoming campus.
StreetEasy has released a new report on how the HQ2 announcement has affected city real estate to date. The real estate search engine found that Long Island City’s housing prices are rising in the wake of Amazon’s HQ2 announcement, but the Queens neighborhood isn’t the primary one that real estate agents are marketing to campus hopefuls.
Midtown East has the most mention of HQ2 in real estate listings, with 42 touting the neighborhood’s proximity to Long Island City. Astoria is the neighborhood with the second most mentions of HQ2 in listing text, with just six listings touting its accessibility to Long Island City. The HQ2 neighborhood itself has just three listings that sing Amazon’s presence.
Long Island City listings, however, have seen the most drastic price shifts since November. Along with a sizable grouping of price increases following the announcement, there was also a decline in listing price cuts. It was a night-and-day change: This comes after a slump that in October saw 13 percent of listings slash their prices.
If you’re looking to sell your house or real estate in this market, find a reputable home buyer like Suffolk County House Buyers. They buy real estate with cash and there’s no realtor commissions.
In the five weeks leading up to the announcement, StreetEasy found that not a single listing in Long Island City raised its price. In the five weeks following the announcement, just five Long Island City listings (or 2.7 percent of them) saw a decline in price.
Those price adjustments are still mostly confined to Long Island City. In Astoria, four listings saw a price increase in the five weeks following the announcement, but in the same period of time 25 listings saw their prices slashed.
CHICAGO — If the entrance of a hotel is its own sort of stage, then few actors have commanded one quite like Gary Sykes, head doorman at the Thompson Chicago.
From the time his shift begins at 3 p.m. till the time he gets off at 11, Mr. Sykes is a whirlwind of “Well, hello there,” and “I’ll be waiting here when you get back.” He seems to exist in a natural state of multitasking: a man whose default activity is summoning a valet while wheeling luggage indoors and pre-positioning a bellman.
To any guest who inquires, Mr. Sykes will give directions with military precision, opine confidently on the local haunts and conjure cabs with a whistle so piercing it must impress the neighborhood fauna.
And yet one can’t hold a smartphone these days without wondering why, exactly, hotels still need a doorman, even one as formidable as Mr. Sykes. There is GPS to route you to the nearest drugstore, Yelp to rate the local dining scene, Uber to deliver a driver, and so on.
But Mr. Sykes does much more than all of those. When he announces to each new arrival, “Welcome to the Thompson, I’m Gary, hotel ambassador,” he may be that rarity in this age of title inflation: someone who understates his own importance.
There are the little things, of course. Mr. Sykes and his colleagues at the Thompson, Samuel Asante and Verdell Butler, have learned to inspect arriving vehicles for stray phones and wallets, and to reunite them with their owners before either gets too far. (“Oh, you’re good, you’re very good,” said a man after Mr. Asante bent into a black Mercedes and re-emerged with a chunky billfold.)
There is also the matter of the neighbors. The affluent professionals who live in a part of town like the Gold Coast, which is just north of the downtown Loop, have a near-endless capacity for headache-making. If a situation escalates, they can bring down the wrath of the local authorities, who may take a sudden interest in the hotel’s permitting needs.
Mr. Sykes and his colleagues go to great lengths to tend to the neighbors’ care and feeding. They offer up the hotel’s valuable curb space for short-term parking, for example, and keep the valet podium stocked with dog treats, or Cheerios for canines with plus-size physiques.
When a grim-faced neighbor announced that she had just thrown up while preparing for a colonoscopy, Mr. Sykes was quick to regale her with stories of successful procedures past. “I’ve been there,” he said in his sunny baritone.
Then there is the problem of intelligence gathering. Mr. Sykes and his colleagues are constantly alert to chatter that a new arrival has lost a piece of luggage or is celebrating an anniversary, so that a complimentary cosmetic bag or bottle of champagne can be arranged. They are often the first to detect a whiff of discontent from a V.I.P., like cast members of the network television shows who bed down there during filming.
One afternoon, a smartly dressed woman stepped out of a small S.U.V. and trooped toward the doorway. Mr. Sykes soon identified her as an undercover shopper who rates hotels. “That was a test,” Mr. Sykes told me, beaming. “But we caught it.”
The giveaway, he said, is that these shoppers instantly accept almost every offer to help — with dinner reservations, theater tickets — no matter how elaborate. “We never know for sure,” said Steve Shern, the Thompson’s general manager. “We just remain consistent in our approach.”
Not that the Thompson doormen have been unaffected by the rise of smartphones. Uber is a particularly sensitive subject. The doormen make about $9 an hour, but their earnings can exceed three times that with tips.
According to Mr. Sykes, tips from hailing cabs once accounted for a quarter to a third of his tip haul, but Uber has sliced that amount by at least half. Even bad weather no longer ensures a line of cab riders. “I used to be able to say, ‘It’s going to rain today; I’m going to make money,’” he said. “Not anymore.”
For Mr. Sykes, it was partly the stability of door-manning that made it attractive. He came to the hotel, then known as Le Meridien, on a three-day assignment from a temp agency in 1993, having been laid off from a hair care products company after a dozen years there. He talked his way into a full-time job as a bellman, then ascended the ranks to doorman and eventually head doorman.
(Becoming a doorman turns out to be a bit like becoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Few are hired directly into the job; they can spend years accumulating seniority.)
The memory of losing his job lingers to this day. “They downsized me,” he said. “I learned that word and it terrified me.”
Nearly a quarter-century into his tenure, he still checks a daily operations report early in the morning so he can get a jump on important comings and goings. By the time he attends a pre-shift meeting shortly before 3 p.m., he has committed the key details to memory. “I just hold the paper to be social,” he said.
There are certain tricks in the repertoire of any good doorman, and Mr. Sykes is an enthusiastic practitioner. Trick No. 1: Go out of your way to cultivate children, who tend to have outsize sway over their parents’ lodging decisions. Trick No. 2: Always sneak a look at the baggage label of an arriving guest so you can refer to the guest by name. (Trick No. 2.5: Make sure it’s an up-to-date, airline-issued label to avoid unforced errors.)
But achieving doorman greatness requires something more subtle. It is about walking a narrow emotional line. If your posture is too tentative, you will appear grudging and stingy, one reason that Mr. Shern, the general manager, preaches the need to make eye contact when a guest is within 10 feet, and always, always to “greet them before they greet you.”
If you’re too eager, on the other hand, you will come off as smarmy and transactional. Each gesture may be interpreted as a play for tips. Explaining how Mr. Asante became a first-rate doorman, Mr. Sykes said: “Sam learned to calm down and talk to the guests.”
In effect, Mr. Sykes’s method is to develop a profile of each person he encounters — which he is constantly updating — and calibrate accordingly. To the pair of middle-aged women on their way to Gibson’s Steakhouse, he was the vicarious wingman. “Have the Turtle Pie with ice cream,” he counseled. “It is very fattening but delicious.” (“We will, Gary. We’ll be thinking of you when we do it,” they replied.)
To the overnight business traveler intent on handling her own luggage — the “one-bagger” in doorman parlance — he is the discreet aide-de-camp, opening doors and tending to cars without belaboring the interaction. “Let’s get you inside,” he will say. “My brain is yours. Take what you need and leave me the rest.”
For Mr. Sykes, the key to this exercise is to think of himself as playing a very long game — one whose goal is to maximize the number of guests who return.
“I make people happy when they come to the hotel. They talk to their friends and family, then lots of people come to the hotel,” he said. “And that gives me job security.”
An app has many things going for it. It is fast. It is cheap. But an app can’t heed emotional cues the way a person would (even if some are working on it.). It has yet to host a successful dinner party.
Jillian Jocson, a Thompson concierge, said people grill her on how many tables in a restaurant have a view of Lake Michigan, or whether the beef is grass-fed. “As if I’m their own personal Yelp,” she said.
Mr. Sykes said lots of people tip him for no other reason than they happen to like him, in the way they might tip a street musician who brings them pleasure.
Already, the apps have come for legions of service workers, including some skilled ones. They will no doubt keep coming for more. But as long as humans remain social creatures, there will be businesses lining up to employ the likes of Gary Sykes.
“I like to give people the personal touch,” he said. “You can put anyone here you want, but you can’t put a Gary here.”
We wanted to give a great big Thank You to an unsung hero from last weeks furnace debacle here at the hotel!
As many know, our main furnace / boiler system malfunctioned at the hotel, leaving no heat for our guests! Temperatures were below freezing so, bursting pipes was also in the back of our mind if something didn’t get fixed quickly.
Little did we know that a St. Louis based HVAC owner / technician was staying at the hotel and would come to our rescue.
It had been several hours since the heat was turned off and we began getting calls to the front desk asking what the deal was and when it was going to be fixed. Well, one of those callers was Wayne Melancon, owner of St. Louis Heating and Cooling. Instead of complaining, he explained who he was and offered his help.
Mr. Melancon worked with our in-house team for a few hours and was able to fix the furnace. Turns out, some wiring shorted out and fried a few ends, shutting the entire heating system down.
One of the hardest parts about visiting New York is deciding what to do. There are so many incredible attractions in this world-famous city that narrowing it down to just a few can be challenging. If you are planning an upcoming vacation, here are some of the most popular places to see in New York that you may want to consider adding to your list:
1. Times Square – When it comes to famous intersections, Times Square pretty much takes the cake. Located in Manhattan at the intersection of Seventh and Broadway, this area is well-known for its street performers and theaters. It can also be fun to visit and watch people as they go by. Visitors to Times Square are so diverse and varied that people-watching provides a unique glimpse of humanity that is hard to find in any other location on Earth.
2. The Statue of Liberty – Perhaps the most iconic statue in the world, the Statue of Liberty is a must-see attraction when you visit New York. The national monument is free to visit. However, you will need to bring along money to pay for a ferry out to the island. It is well worth the cost of a ferry ride to take in this beautiful statue in person.
3. The Empire State Building – Towering more than 100 stories above New York, this well-known skyscraper provides an unparalleled view of the surrounding area from its observation decks. Be sure to bring your camera with you so that you can capture all of the amazing views.
4. Broadway – Do you love musicals or theater? If so, a trip to Broadway is essential. Find out what shows are playing during your visit and consider buying tickets in advance so that you don’t miss out on your favorites.
5. National September 11 Memorial and Museum – Taking time to remember all of the lives that were lost on September 11th can be a sobering experience. The memorial and museum are both moving and educational.
These are some of the most popular places to see in New York. A visit to any of these iconic landmarks can make your New York vacation as memorable and meaningful as possible. The time you spend in this magical city will stick with you long after you get home. Just be sure to plan your trip carefully so that you have time to see all of the things that you want to see while you are in the city.
Whether you are traveling to a remote Talkeetna AK Hotel or want to stay in a poppin’ city like Las Vegas or NYC, you need to find the right hotels for your trip. Choosing the right hotel is really important since it will impact your experience during your trip or vacation. There are a few different things you can do to find the best hotels for your destination.
The easiest way to find hotels in a specific area is to do a simple search on Google, but there are other ways to find hotels. You can use different travel apps to look for hotels or search for hotels in a specific city by using a booking website. It is best to familiarize yourself with the area you plan on traveling to so you can select the neighborhoods where you would consider staying in and can look for hotels in nearby cities as well.
Comparing the price of a room is important when looking for a hotel but you should never sacrifice quality to get a lower price. If a hotel looks very affordable, take the time to check the reviews and ratings. You shouldn’t book the cheapest hotel room you can find unless you are confident that the hotel will meet your expectations.
It is important to compare the amenities offered by different hotels since amenities can impact your experience when you stay at a hotel. Look for a hotel that offers parking, free wifi and a few other amenities you are going to need during your trip. You will have a much better experience if you choose a hotel that includes a pool, a gym and free breakfast for instance.
Checking reviews and ratings is very important when booking a hotel. You should look at the numbers of stars that the hotel received but you should also look at reviews and ratings shared by travelers. There are several websites and apps where travelers can submit their reviews and ratings and you should check as many different sources as possible.
Do not hesitate to call the hotels you are interested in. Talking to a customer service representative over the phone is often a good way to get an idea of the kind of service you can expect to receive during your stay. Put together a list of questions you want to ask to make sure the hotel is a good choice for your trip. You could for instance ask about the different rooms available or find out more about the amenities offered.
Take the time to learn more about different hotels in the area you plan on visiting and always have a back up plan in case the hotel you booked turns out to be a disappointment. Take the time to read reviews and to contact different hotels so you can ask a few questions. Even though booking a hotel room online is a quick and easy process, you still need to do some research beforehand to find a hotel that will provide you with an ideal experience.
Visiting New York can be downright exciting. There are countless different activities to do and things to see in this dynamic and ever-changing city. The key to taking advantage of all that the city has to offer lies in choosing the right hotel. Ideally, the hotel that you stay in should be conveniently located, giving you easy access to any activities that you want to do. Additionally, it should also provide comfortable accommodations, easy parking, and any extra amenities that you need.
Finding the best New York hotels takes a little bit of detective work. As you can well imagine, there are a tremendous number of hotels in the city, offering everything from basic amenities to high-end features. Trying to sort through all of the options can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a number of different resources that you can use to make the search a little bit easier.
One of the first things that you should do is narrow down the location. New York City is huge. Traveling through the city can be time-consuming. Because of that, you should look for a hotel that is located close to the activities that interest you the most. That way, you won’t have to spend all of your time riding in cabs, taking the subway, or driving through heavy traffic.
Next, you should set a budget for how much you can afford to spend. Consider how many nights you will be staying. Divide the amount of money that you have by the number of nights that you plan to stay to determine the overall cost per night that you can afford. Don’t forget to factor in tax and other expenses such as parking fees.
Finally, you can always turn to the Internet for help. There are a number of different websites online where other travelers leave reviews of the best New York hotels that they have stayed at. In most cases, you can sort these hotels by how much they cost per night and by their location. This can help you narrow down the search to the highest rated hotels that fit within your budget and that are located in the part of the city where you want to stay. By reading through these reviews, you can discover which hotels have the amenities that you want and provide the comfort and convenience that you need.