We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

I went to dinner with a friend on the Upper East Side recently. It was a lovely night out, and I was wearing comfy flat sandals…so, I decided to walk the 20 streets and six avenues from the restaurant back to midtown west.

I love walking through the city! There are always a lot of people around, and there is always something beautiful to look at. This particular walk took my down Park Avenue and past the Waldorf Astoria. And that reminded my of my grandfather…

It’s a little known fact that I’m a first generation American. Both of my parents (and their parents before that) were born in Cuba. My father’s father was a livestock veterinarian there…a pretty good one from what I gather. But when the family decided to relocate to New York, that veterinary degree pretty much became decorative. (I will actually be hanging it up in my home soon.)

In order to make a living in the US, my grandfather took a job as a doorman at the famed Waldorf Astoria. Ever the epitome of the American dream, he went on to save like a madman and wound up owning several real estate properties. But in those days, there’s a chance he was pocketing silverware and dishes from the dining room…that my parents definitely still use.

In January of 2006, Phantom of the Opera became the longest running show on Broadway. I was fortunate enough to be invited to that performance and the black-tie gala that followed at, you guessed it, the Waldorf Astoria. It was a magical night! And when we sat down to dinner, lo and behold…the. same. silverware. I almost started crying when I thought about how far my family had come.

The takeaway here? It really doesn’t matter where you are; anything is possible. Work hard wherever you are, and you too could end up stealing silverware from the Waldorf Astoria. Wait, that’s not right…

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