UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — A beloved Upper East Side doorman — just two years away from retirement — died in a freak accident Thursday while shoveling snow.
"He said 'see you tomorrow' and waved," Victor Patz said of his best friend, Miguel Gonzalez, who would always offer him coffee. "It is terrible for me. I never saw him again."
Gonzalez, 59, was shoveling the snow from steps leading down to the lobby when he fell and smashed into the window of the five-story apartment building at 333 E. 93rd St. around 9:30 a.m.
Gonzalez sustained cuts in the neck and face and died a short time later at Metropolitan Hospital.
Patz said Gonzalez had recently sold his home in Connecticut and planned to retire to Puerto Rico next year. He was married and had a son.
Gonzalez was widely described by neighbors as a nice man who was always smiling and joking. He had worked as a doorman at the Upper East Side apartment building for decades.
"He's the sweetest person, he said hi every morning," said one resident.
"I knew him since 1982," said another resident. "He was a fixture here. Always standing outside and would wave and smile."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo paid tribute to Gonzales while thanking all of those who are working to keep residents safe during the storm.
"My heart goes out to the family of doorman Miguel Gonzalez who died shoveling this morning. Thanks to all working today to keep NY'ers safe," Cuomo tweeted.
Mount Sinai released the following statement about their employee:
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Miguel Gonzalez, a beloved employee at Mount Sinai for more than 35 years. We want to express our heart-felt sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues."
PIX11's Monica Morales contributed to this report.