Meet the Local Business Owners Who Inspired “Downtown Stories”
Weaving together history, fact and fiction, playwright Rogelio Martinez’s “Sidewalk Echoes”—running June 8-25 as part of the “Downtown Stories” theatrical series—takes inspiration from conversations with the people behind Lower Manhattan’s mom-and-pop shops. Such as …
Paul C. – New York Wine Exchange (9 Broadway)
Raised in Bombay, Paul moved to the states as a young man with $500 in his pocket (which he borrowed). He came here with a college education but nevertheless needed to work as a gas station attendant, a pizza delivery driver and a car wash employee to get by. When his wife became pregnant, he was told to go home. He stayed and built the NY Wine Exchange. His motto is “never give up.”
Mena M. – Ryan Maguire’s (28 Cliff Street)
Born and raised in western Ireland, Mena went to fashion school in Dublin and eventually came to the states for three months. While visiting, she just so happened to meet her husband at a dance. They married in Ireland two years later, then came back to America to realize their dream of owning and running their own bar and restaurant. And they make an amazing Shepherd’s pie!
Lev Z. – Xpress Pharmacy (99 Nassau Street)
Lev loves being in business for himself. He has resisted the negative impact of the large pharmaceutical chains because he is devoted to customer service and has loyal customers who won’t go anywhere else, and, as a result has become a reliably friendly face that everyone recognizes.
Antonella S. – Pisillo (97 Nassau Street)
Antonella grew up in a small village in southern Italy. When she met her husband he had a desire to move to New York, and so she said that they should. They opened a pizzeria together, but eventually switched to a sandwich shop since the delivery times made it easier for them to care for their three kids. Antonella’s charm is infectious, and her sandwiches are delicious!
Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. Performances are scheduled Wednesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m. at the John Street Methodist Church (44 John Street) with an additional performance on Saturday, June 25 at 8pm. Outdoor ADA-compliant performances will be held at 1 Battery Park Plaza on Saturday, June 11, and Saturday, June 18, at 3 p.m.