I was twenty-one when I got to New York City. My first job was at the famous restaurant, Kalustyan’s, in Lexington Avenue, owned by Alam, who became my best friend for the next 33 years. I worked with Alam for six months while also making deliveries for another restaurantin downtown Manhattan. Within a year, I received my work permit and got back into business.
I started off with ahot dog business right in front of the New York Public Library. I spent two years selling hot dogs until I finally got my newsstand on 28th street and Park Avenue. This newsstand was 8ftx4ft and I used to standin there for 14hrs a day, 7 days a week. I remember telling myself that I had to do it if I wanted to bring all my siblings and their families to NYC.
Eventually, I got one of the Hudson News franchises that was across the street from my newsstand. With these two stores combined, I brought my family to New York.I worked years to make sure my siblings and their families were all settled and doing well before going ahead and starting a family of my own. I made a lot of sacrifices in my life while trying to build from the ground up, marrying ‘late’ was one of them.
Despite my background, I was never afraid of going after what I desired. I have a lot of confidence in myself and I always do whatever I put my mind to. I’m not afraid to ever ask questions, even if it’s just to get another perspective on things.
I came to NY with almost no money and not knowing the language,and now I own several properties in Park Avenue, Jamaica State, Kew Gardens,and Jackson Heights where I live with my wife and kids. I also now own a store on 333 Park Avenue and have two partnerships witha Deli on 8thAvenue and the Krispy Krunchy Chicken franchise.
Life is too short and we’re given the opportunity to live to our fullest potentials just one time, and so I believe it is important for everyone to do everything they ever desired. For me, my wish was seeing success for all the kids in my family and making sure no one around me ever goes hungry, and I’d say I accomplished just that and more!”