Merchants of Generosity

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The Palm Beach Issue

January 2004

By Kate Ballen

At times, the Upper East Side has seemed a country unto itself, isolated from the rest of the city, with its own borders and people. But the horror and sadness of September 11th wiped out the lines that separated neighborhood from neighborhood. New Yorkers have united together in compassion for the suffering, and in solidarity against the terrorists’ violent destruction. The following local business have joined other generous givers across the city by donating money, supplies and their hearts.

Since the tragedy, this couture dry cleaner has also been cleaning dozens of offices and apartments downtown, removing dust and purifying air. “There is film and dust over everything,” says the store’s president, John Mahdessian. “People are concerned about their spaces being healthy.”

Business is steadily climbing back to normal levels and none of the company’s employees has been laid off. “My customers may not be shopping as much for new clothes, but they are still maintaining their Chanel suites,” Mahdessian explains.

Madame Paulette will clean their customers U.S. Flags for free, and they are offering long-term discounts to some who’ve taken a beating in the stock market. The store has also set up a fund to benefit children who lost a parent in the Towers tragedy.

“Everyone has become unified as an American,” says Mahdessian. “Some of my drivers who used to only hang Puerto Rican flags in their cars now also hang American flags.”