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Another door opens for Plaza Hotel's longest-serving doorman

  • Story Highlights
  • Ed Trinka, who joined the hotel in 1963, turns 65 and retires after 46 years on the job
  • The gregarious Trinka is known as the "mayor of 59th Street"
  • Doorman gets a free stay at the hotel as part of his retirement gift
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From Jason Kessler
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York's iconic Plaza Hotel will lose a figure nearly as synonymous with it as Eloise when its longest-serving doorman retires Thursday after 46 years on the job.

Ed Trinka, whose retirement coincides with his 65th birthday, joined the hotel 1963.

Ed Trinka, whose retirement coincides with his 65th birthday, joined the hotel 1963.

Ed Trinka, whose retirement coincides with his 65th birthday, joined the hotel's staff in 1963 as a teenager. He spent 40 years at the fabled lodging's Fifth Avenue entrance, relocating to its doorway facing Central Park South during the property's renovation and partial conversion to condominiums several years ago.

Now as much a Central Park South fixture as the horse-drawn carriages that line the park's southern perimeter, the gregarious Trinka is known as the "mayor of 59th Street." On a recent afternoon, he seemed to know every other passerby, exchanging a constant stream of hellos with chauffeurs and doormen from adjacent tony apartment buildings and, of course, the Plaza's residents.

Over his more than four decades manning the Plaza's entrance, Trinka has met countless celebrities -- or "all of them," as he puts it. After his first celebrity encounter at the hotel with the Beatles, he's catered to a long procession of big names, including Joe DiMaggio, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Liza Minnelli.

Marla Maples, ex-wife of one-time Plaza owner Donald Trump, would regularly peck Trinka on the cheek when she saw him. Trinka says he has an autographed photo of Richard Nixon -- a token of gratitude from the former president -- hanging on proud display at his home.

Trinka says he has thoroughly enjoyed his lengthy stay at the portal to history and glamour. "I never had a bad day in all the years."

Nonetheless, with all those years at the hotel under his belt, Trinka felt it was time to "bow out gracefully."

As he transitions to retirement, Trinka says he'll miss the front-row view of Central Park and the hotel's clientele -- the "greatest people in the world." He also concedes he'll miss "the women."

The building's inhabitants are not eager for his departure.

"He's a gentleman, refined -- you don't find these people anymore," lamented resident Joan Spain.

Trinka's replacement, Jimmy O'Connell, is keenly aware of the large shoes he'll have to fill, saying he'd be satisfied if he "could be half the doorman" Trinka is.

The hotel will bid farewell to Trinka in characteristically grand fashion on Thursday afternoon. After a champagne send-off in the hotel's landmarked Oak Room, its management will present him with an opportunity to view the Plaza from the vantage point of the countless guests he's greeted over the years: He'll be given a free stay at the hotel.

In addition to a trove of anecdotes about celebrities, Trinka acquired something else during his tenure at the Plaza: a new name.

Years ago, the hotel gave him a nametag that mistakenly read Edward, even though his full name is Edwin. He came to embrace the errant nametag, neglecting to correct people when they called him Edward and even naming his own son Edward.

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