Veronica Leslie

Photo: Hannah Whitaker/New York Magazine

You’re Macy’s longest-working sales associate. When did you start?
At the Flatbush store [since closed] in 1960, when I was in my twenties. I was a receptionist in the beauty salon.

What was your salary when you started?
Forty-six dollars a week. Back then, the subway ride to work every day cost ten cents.

How many different jobs have you had at Macy’s over the years?
In 1970, I went to work in the receiving department at the Herald Square store. Then I moved to juniors, then silver. I’ve worked in the coats department for over 25 years.

Macy’s is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Are you doing anything special?
Yes. We’re having cupcakes.

Did you ever think you’d be working here for so long?
No! My job was supposed to be temporary.

Any plans to retire?
I’m thinking about it. I’ll reach my 50th anniversary in two more years. By that time, the younger generation will be able to take over for me, keeping in mind what I’ve taught them.

Like what?
You have to know how to ask the customer to try on another size. Sometimes someone thinks she’s a size 10 but really she’s a 12. Younger people like to wear their coats so tight now, but if you get on a bus and have to reach for the rail, you’re in trouble—your sleeves will burst!

Veronica Leslie