For this month’s #PeopleofthePalace post, we recognize Edgar Crespo, the Watch Engineer here at Lotte New York Palace. After speaking with Edgar, we like to think of him as the ‘Clark Kent’ of Engineering, in that he has a bit of an alter ego that many of us may not know. By day he is managing the safety of the hotel and our guests. With 15 years at The Palace under his belt, Edgar knows the ins and outs like the back of his hand – no need for a blueprint! From steam, to gas, to the plumbing and electricity, his years of apprenticeships, certifications and experience have brought him to where he is today.
By night however, Edgar is a trumpet-playing, home-renovating, television-starring man. In fact, earlier this summer, Anthony Melchiorri stopped by The Palace to feature the property for his production of “Hotel Impossible: Five Star Secrets.” In this eight episode series, Melchiorri gives viewers a behind-the-scene look at five-star properties around the world. Edgar Crespo was just one of our employees to give Melchiorri a look at the hotel, focusing on the Co-Generation Plant and our green initiatives. Unbeknownst to the selected employees, at the end of the episode, one lucky winner would be gifted a cash prize of $5,000. “[Anthony] told me to turn around and he had a box in his hand. I thought it was a watch or something, but when I saw it I got very emotional,” recounts Crespo. “I actually broke down a little bit. I had no idea!”
But that’s not the only highlight of Mr. Crespo’s time at The Palace. Proving that New York really is for lovers, he also reconnected with his now-wife of 14 years, all thank to an employee Christmas Party. “We actually went to Music & Art High School together back in the day: she played piano and I played trumpet,” recalls Crespo. “Nineteen years later I bumped into her [at the party], where she was working in the Business Center at the time. The following week I brought a photo of us in high school and showed it to her. Guess it worked; we’ve been married ever since – fourteen years! We still belly laugh together to this day.”
Crespo truly is proud of the work he does, and his wall of certifications and awards speak for themselves. While reflecting on his tenure here at The Palace, Crespo says, “They’re going to have to drag me out of here by my feet. I love it.”
We encourage you to read the full interview below:
[Lotte New York Palace]: Prior to your start at The Palace, where can you claim your working roots?
[Edgar Crespo]: I started my apprenticeship as a mechanic at The Yale Club of New York. From electric, to plumbing, to building systems, you really learn it all.
[LNYP]: Tell us a little more about what you do here – what’s your day-to-day?
[EC]: The beauty of my job is that it’s never boring – my day-to-day is always different. What I love most about what I do is that it’s a constant puzzle with lots of problem solving. As a Watch Engineer, I’m familiar with steam, gas, plumbing, and electricity, so I really see the whole big picture to make sure everything runs nice and smooth.
[LYNP]: How about your coworkers?
[EC]: The Engineering team has a lot of people with lots of specialties and skills. But when something goes wrong, we pull together as a team, and that’s what I really like about this place. If there’s any emergency, everyone gets together and does what they need to do. It’s so great.
[LNYP]: Where do you see yourself in (5) years?
[EC]: (laughs). They’re going to have to take me out of here by my feet, so to answer your question I still see myself here. I have side projects as far as real estate goes. Currently I have a two-family and a three-family home that I rent out in the Bronx, where I was born and raised. Right now I’m working on the basement of one. I’ve worked hard for many years but I really love it here.
[LNYP]: What’s your favorite part of Lotte New York Palace?
[EC]: I like the renovations – that’s what makes it interesting. Making the place safe and seeing the $140 million transformation from what it was before to now, it just gets better and better.
Now we’re using our turbine and seeing huge savings, too. I was unfamiliar with these systems prior to coming here, but throughout my time at The Palace I’ve been able to take courses to learn more and I’m so proud of that part of the building. Some of these systems are so simple yet so cost-effective. (laughs) I think I need to come up with a new invention of my own.
[LYNP]: You’ve been here for 15 years, there have to be some funny or memorable moments?
[EC]: I’m very lucky, me and the guys laugh all day long.
The funniest story was one time our team was upstairs on a floor snaking a drain, and I had control of the snake. I looked away for one second, and when I looked back the snake was wrapped around my coworker’s pants and almost took them with it!
[LNYP]: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone?
[EC]: Go to school. Learn. Also, have an open mind. No one knows everything, and I think that’s the great thing about this type of industry is that there’s always something new happening that we need to learn about.
[LYNP]: Do you have any hobbies outside of the office?
[EC]: I have a lot of fun with music and playing trumpet. I’m not much on lyrics, just jazz and salsa. Growing up I used to practice for 8 hours a day, and when I was 16 years old I was in the New York City Orchestra. More recently, I taught Music Theory to 8-10 year olds, and even played here in the employee Cafeteria many years ago. When my father passed, I was able to play ‘Taps’ at his funeral. When I first started – even now – I would get so nervous! There were a lot of musicians around me growing up who ended up becoming quite famous, so that was really special. I like that trumpet playing is a hobby for me though. I don’t want to take the love out of it.
[LNYP]: And our favorite question: any restaurant recommendations in the area?
[EC]: Sammy’s Fish Box on City Island in the Bronx! Delicious seafood. Actually, I would recommend going to City Island for anything. Lots of bands that go there on Sundays, too.
[LNYP]: Congratulations on the big win from Anthony Melchiorri! What will you do with the winnings?
[EC]: 2 months ago I blew my engine and I paid $5,000 to fix it. I think everything happens for a reason, it was really great to have won this. It was really amazing and unexpected. I want to go on some mini vacations. Lots of day trips and working on the house, so the prize has been really great.
Thank you, Edgar for a fun interview, and for taking the time to share your experience at The Palace with our readers. We are happy to have you here!
Join us each month as we highlight employees new and old here at Lotte New York Palace. Follow us on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn) as we take a deeper dive into the lives of our employees. Whether they are right in the center of the action, or behind the scenes making sure the hotel runs smoothly for our guests, The Palace appreciates each and every one of our employees for bringing a unique personality to the hotel.