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Tipping Point

How’s the downturn hitting the 175,000 New Yorkers who make at least part of their living from gratuities?

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Waiter
People are spending less. They’re skipping the appetizer, or not going for the fine Bordeaux. The check is smaller, so the tips are down, but 20 percent is still usual. Louis McCullagh, The Four Seasons
Nightly tips on a weekend, precrisis: $250
Now: $180


Bellhop
Overall, tips are down. There’s lots of stress on bellmen, because our livelihoods depend on the heart of mankind. Remember, the wealthier they are, the cheaper they tip. Russell Stone, the Benjamin Hotel
Daily tips, precrisis: $70
Now: $45 to $50


Bartender
People are getting tighter. You used to give folks a free round of shots, and the thing to do was look after your bartender. But now they just say thanks and walk out the door. Maybe they’ll leave like four bucks. Colm Maguire, Stag’s Head, midtown
Nightly tips on a good night, precrisis: $350 to $400
Now: $200


Cabdriver
Usually my tips are about 20 percent of my profits, but now they’re down to about 12 to 14 percent. If you tip less than a dollar, that just pisses me off. But we’re optimistic things will get better with Obama. Bessem Gharbi
Tips on a weekend night shift, precrisis: $70 to $80
Now: $50 to $60


Counterman
The volume is less. We used to have more of a steady crowd, but now we just get the regulars who are devoted to us, mostly doormen or porters from across the street. Willie Perez, Cosmos Diner, Murray Hill
Daily tips on a good day, precrisis: $120
Now: $80


Shoeshine Guy
The minimum tip we used to get was at least $2. Now we get only about a dollar per shine. Julio Galvez, Infinity Shoe Repair, Citigroup Center
Daily tips, precrisis: $80 to $100
Now: $55 to $60


Barber
Definitely tips are down by about 25 to 30 percent. We used to have Wall Street brokers in here all the time, but now we don’t get as many of them as before. Everyone’s concerned. Lenny Armer, Astor Place Hairstylists
Daily tips, precrisis:,$50
Now: $30 to $40


Horse-Carriage Driver
I’d say my tips are down about 30 percent. I get a lot of people from Europe, especially the French, who don’t even tip a dollar. Or they ask for a discount. Frank, Central Park South
Daily tips, precrisis: $50
Now: $30


Mixologist
I’ve seen my fair share of less than 20 percent tips, but in this economy I can’t blame them. People are watching their money, and they should be. At least I still have a job. Brian Miller, Death & Company, East Village
Nightly tips on a good night, precrisis: $250
Now: $200

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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