Midtown office cleaner
For more than two decades Maria Alexandru has dedicated her life to cleaning Trump Tower.
The Romania native moved to the United States in 1989, but never imagined that she would be working in New York City for 24 years, let alone at the same job.
She explained that being recognized for her service is nice, but she is a modest person and doesn’t like the spotlight.
“It was a surprise,” she says. “I’m a good worker. I’m honored.”
Alexandru, 66, first worked as a movie projectionist in Romania. Although she didn’t have a dream job, she wanted to live in America where there are more opportunities.
“I’m a person that accommodates,” she says. “If you put me in a jungle, I’ll survive”
Alexandru recalls how she started at her job. She was in the street crying and suddenly someone sweeping saw her and connected her to an office. From there she hasn’t looked back.
“I’m very happy working there,” she says. “You stick with the job because it’s steady and it provides for you.”
Over the years she has gotten to know many tenants and has seen President Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka and son Donald Jr. She notes that when she’s gone, the replacement cleaner is always asked, when is Maria coming back?
However, during the recession from 2008 to 2010 many people in the building lost their jobs and even her hours were cut from 47 to 15. (Her hours were eventually restored.)
While she has never met the president, when Trump first announced he was running for elected office Alexandru made a sign that said “Vote for Trump” and stood between Fifth and Sixth Avenues with it. The insults hurled at her made her not do it again.
Today, she lives in Kew Gardens with her husband Juan Camargo, her 27-year-old daughter Nancy and her two dogs, Luca and Coco. She loves to cook and spend time with her family. Alexandru is a cancer survivor and hopes she continues to be healthy well into the future.
“Me and my husband, we are like a stamp and an envelope, we don’t go anywhere without each other,” Alexandru said.
Her job has also allowed her to send money to her mother, Elaina, 93, who still lives in Romania.
“I enjoy what I’m doing,” Alexandru says. “I’m doing the job right because I like it. When you leave the house, you come to work and you leave everything behind.”