Tim and Jeremy are both waiters at a restaurant in downtown New York City. During slow times at work, to stave off boredom when it is slow, the two young men draw pictures. These pictures are made using ink and what is called the "Triple Dupe Pad," a book of paper used to place orders in the kitchen. The drawings usually take about a week to make, all the while also being used by fellow employees to take orders; this sometimes leads to other collaborators or in a couple cases, to the loss of the work. The drawings are then scanned and colored in Photoshop where they come to life in stunning technicolor! The subject matter varies from piece to piece, as they are made over a long course of time and under various moods and states of mind. They all retain a playfulness that serves as a coping mechanism after spending a night catering to the endless needs of hungry patrons.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#61 "Richard of XIII Street" In Color! May 30, 2013

(Click on the image to make it larger!)

Coloring this one was very satisfying. I got to really bring out Tim's welt, bring out the insanity in Richard, and costume all of the super heros. Although I am almost most proud of the scaffolding behind Richard and the wall behind that. If I told you that this was a picture of 13th St. any time between now and 2010, you would say, "Of course it is, there's the scaffolding." As anyone who frequents the street knows, there is scaffolding there all the time. At the time of this drawing, there had been scaffolding around our building on the corner for years. They were replacing the windows or something. Then, when those were taken down, they did the same thing to the building across the street so up went the scaffolding for another couple of years. I am not exaggerating when I tell you these are up for years. In fact, people would come into the restaurant when the scaffolding went up and would express their shock and concern for the place. Because, you see, 13th street in the past 15 years has been almost constantly under construction. The fact that the restaurant has survived through this constant work zone is a testament to the owners and the regulars who frequent the place. Without hard work from the staff and the loyal patronage from the neighborhood regulars, this place would've folded like so many uptown places that can't survive the constant construction (yes, I am talking about those poor guys stuck in the way of the forthcoming 2nd avenue subway line).
When I first started, there was an awning like the kind you see uptown; it stretched from the building all the way to the edge of the sidewalk. You could fit ten smokers under there if it was raining, and it looked grand and inviting. That was replaced with the one that hangs there today during the first round of construction. That was when the MTA was putting in ventilation fans for the New Jersey Path train that has a station underneath 13th Street and 6th Avenue. The underground system is massive and so although the train station itself is across the street on the opposite side of 6th, the underground network stretches far beyond that. In fact, during the blackout in 2003, I saw angry commuters being shepherded out of a hatch on the corner of 13th, a block from where they usually emerge. Anyway, the construction of the ventilation fans was the longest and most detrimental to the restaurant. The whole sidewalk was ripped up and the north side of the street was essentially closed, which meant that any new customers were not going to be walking on that side of the street and thus not coming into the restaurant. The owners had to refinance their apartment to keep the place afloat, and were even interviewed for the NY Times. We survived that storm, and soon the fans were up and working (to the dismay of unwitting women with loosely fitting skirts who sometimes find themselves in "Marilyn Monroe on the vent" situations).
The next project started not too long after that, with the building in which the restaurant resides deciding to  tear up the whole sidewalk in front of the place so they could replace the marble facade along the base of the building. So now there was no sidewalk again and a wooden plank leading up the the restaurant. I was still a smoker in those days and would smoke in the little pits on either side of the plank. People would come in and ask what was happening out there and our go-to response was that we were putting in a pool, so just wait until summer! The truth, of course, was way more mundane, but the people who were asking usually were the same ones who had been coming in during the ventilation fan debacle so they were essentially in on the joke. Or, they were at least sympathetic about the whole thing. This lasted a year or so, and then they had to replace the windows, so for almost a decade, the restaurant was blocked from the street by some sort of construction. When the scaffolding went up, Phillip would joke about putting problem customers on "The Deck." That would have been great, although they probably would have liked it so much that we would have to take calls for years with the person on the other end saying, "Can we have a table on the deck... what do you mean you don't have a deck? I remember you having one... I am a regular there and I know you have a deck.... Can I talk to Floyd?"

P.S. There is currently scaffolding up in front of the restaurant because part of the parking garage next door fell off onto the sidewalk. So, expect to see some scaffolding next time you're on 13th Street (it'll no doubt be the same purple hue as pictured above:).

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