W42ST issue 46 - Hell's Kitchen Heroes

Page 23

Hell's Kitchen


A Hell's Kitchen

ALL-AMERICAN Bodegas are the beating heart of our city, run bye some of the hardest working people it’s possiblee to meet. Tom Fervoy goes behind thee counter to feel the pulsee


few weeks back, while hustling bags of ice from my corner deli up to my rooftop for a summer party, I asked a passerby to snap a quick photo of me posing with two young neighborhood stalwarts. The caption that accompanied that photograph read: “I’ve watched these two fine young men grow up behind the counter of our corner deli here, over the past 22 years, on W49th Street. Their family run the delis on three

of our block’s four corners. Fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, cousins, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “Yemeni American families run hundreds of these ‘bodegas’ in New York. Corner delis are the beating heart that sustain daily life on every block in the city. These two are branching out to open their own deli this year. They’re among the smartest, friendliest, hardest working, honest, dedicated family men I know. They are, if it is possible, even bigger Green Bay Packer fans than I am. They’re as

American as apple pie ... as American as you or I.” However, given the moment that we’re in – in Hell’s Kitchen, in NYC, in America – I think this pic deserves more characters than Insta allows. To that end, I got behind the counter with “Wally” Wahlid one of those two fine young men from the Skyline Deli, for a thin slice of his afternoon … or just enough time for three phone orders and seven or eight walk-in customers.