The Manhattan Bistro

27 10 2009

Like I have said to many of my friends, New York was challenging. Wall Street’s collapse had made it that much tougher on the working man.

I needed a job.

And I wasn’t the only one. The homeless population was up this year, some tending to congregate around the LGBT Community Center in Lower Manhattan.

“Lower Manhattan homeless have a much harder time of it as opposed to the San Francisco homeless,” Barry noted.

Determined to grab my share of the ‘American dream’ — in my grandfather’s birthplace no less, I persuaded Omar to speak to his manager about me.

This came after Omar had visited Barry’s house-swapped studio in Gramercy. In his boyish charm, Omar remarked that the staircase appeared like something out if “Gone With the Wind.”

Omar was staying in Queens at the time and he would ride the train into work. The Manhattan Bistro wasn’t the subject of rave reviews in the local press, but the neighborhood couldn’t be better.

An Apple store had opened a block away and now tourists were packing the area to shop, check e-mail and dine.

Omar waited tables at the Bistro, effectively running the front operations. The lunch crowd was light and there wasn’t much of a dinner crowd.

“Chalk it up to high prices,” Jimmy, the kitchen manager said.

Before I started working at the bistro I had to talk to the GM. Omar brought me in early one morning to meet with the GM, who was this really tall and really skinny guy.

His hair was cut like a mo-hawk. Sad to say, I can’t remember his name.

The GM told me he had family in Florida and that I needed a pair of black pants in order to work at the Bistro.

It also helped that I knew a little espanol, particularly the Mexican variety, because the kitchen was, for the most part, an “All-Hispanic Zone.”


Omar, in an amazing sign of loyalty, votched for me with Jimmy, who agreed to let me work his days off.

There was just one hitch….. Jimmy didn’t take a whole lot of days off.




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