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‘Tis the season to be… tipping the staff at your building. But who should you tip? And how much? Ryan Brodsky offers his two cents on the thorny subject of Holiday Tipping — and how his love of gadgets gave him the idea of a tipping money gun.

I have lived in my building for about 5 years, a full service luxury building with my dog’s picture right on the side, 555TEN in Hell’s Kitchen.

Holiday tipping tips from a seasonally masked Ryan Brodsky. Background image: Mel Poole/Unsplash

For me, I like to tip every person in the building. I like people to know my name and I think everyone in the building plays a role in keeping it running. We have about 18 union staff of concierges, doormen, hallmen, porters and handymen. 

Doorman and concierges start at $120 and the staff that’s been here for 5 years are up around $150. Hallmen, Porters and handymen start at $75, or $50 for new staff here just a few months. I also tip the lifestyle coordinator, amenity coordinator and resident manager about $100 each. I make big goodie baskets for the valet, gym staff and management office. I also tip the letter carrier $50 and treat the staff to bagels and burgers — a meal for each shift. We have an in-house dog walking service that I also used to tip and make a basket for but they have yet to return to their facility here, post-pandemic. 

I really believe in sharing the wealth and I love where I live and like to show everyone that makes that possible some gratitude.

More tipping advice

The staff here are a part of my life and think they also generally have an idea of who can afford to tip — at least the doormen anyway. I don’t think they expect anything specifically from anyone but know who can give. I have an old neighbor who was of lesser means and she would make Italian rainbow cookies for staff — the effort it took to make them was always apparent. I think people should give something, but in a 600 unit luxury tower, those that don’t give probably have less a negative effect because so many others do. 

I also hand out my tips personally and don’t put them in the tip box. Again, I like everyone here to know my name and me to know theirs. 

Two years ago I offered the option to have tips shot from a money gun in 1s and 5s and make it rain for the recipient… all in good fun. I had a couple of takers but it was seen as demeaning people who don’t know me, as it was all in over-the-top fun. It was hysterical. 

Most folks I think tip the people they interact with most and another neighbor that has HUGE parties takes up a collection from party goers every few parties and tips all the staff that put up with 100 guests and coming and going and running defense — with tips as large as $1,000 divided among the 4-5 staff that work the shifts when parties occur. 

Tipping is very personal and people that do what they can are appreciated. People who can’t afford to tip are very different to people that just don’t, and the staff know the difference because they and residents are here all the time. 

Happy Holidays!!

Ryan Brodsky @ryinnycity

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