City Work

Friday, March 05, 2010

Folklife specialist at the Library of Congress and the author of Lox, Stocks, and Backstage Broadway: Iconic Trades of New York City , Nancy Groce, explores the "occupational folklore" of iconic New York jobs--like Wall Street traders, lox smokers, and graffiti artists--in her new book.

Do you have a classic New York job? Tell us about it below!


Nancy Groce

Comments [9]

Steven Faulding from USA

I worked for NYC Transit for 30 years as a Bus driver, Motorman, Dispatcher and Train Service Supervisor. My favorite line as a motorman depended on where I was living. I wanted a short communteso the 'LL' or 'L' line was preferred because it was close to Starrett City where lived. But, it was a short, slow boring line that mostly underground. Short lines entails more trips to fill a roughly 8 or 9 hour day. 4 or 5 trips on the 'L' line was a long tiring day. The 'A' was the most interesting because it was long and that scenic ride ride to the Rockaways over two bridges.

Mar. 05 2010 05:04 PM
E from Brooklyn

I was a freelance lighting technician for an event production company, working on weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, and other large scale events. The job took me everywhere-- I have been in the guts of the Met museum, the MoMA, the Pierre Hotel, Waldorf Astoria, Bloomingdales... I've lugged cable through the NY Botanical Gardens, Central Park, Columbia and Fordham Universities, and the grounds of countless Greenwich estates. downside: the long hours and early mornings. upside: being in iconic nyc places in the middle of the night after a long day.

Mar. 05 2010 11:02 AM
Anina Karmen from greenwich village

I took money from customers coming into an Irish bar that was featuring Irish music (duh:)
My husband was producing the music.

Most of the repeat customers were happy to pay the not-too-high cover ($5 for what seemed like endless years), b/c the music was GREAT, and it was good for musicians to actually make some MONEY, but some folks were --- um --- a little annoyed. Occasionally annoyed & drunk.

I vacillated between being annoyed in return, and, occasionally, feeling bad for the recalcitrants. I developed the best anger management skills ever, and enhanced my kibbitzing abilities significantly.

PS: I maintained my day job throughout these years.

AND I send my love to Nancy Groce! (Nancy, you better remember me---Don Meade's ex-wife?)

Mar. 05 2010 10:49 AM
Olivia from Manhattan

I was a paid audience member at 30 Rock for an NBC talk show. Had to dress like someone visiting from Ohio and "clap with enthusiasm." Only in NY...

Mar. 05 2010 10:49 AM
Sarah from Brooklyn

I used to work for a design/build studio where we created window displays and produced events for the New York branches of luxury brands, makeup companies and the like. On one day at work I would be in the garment district haggling over the price of fake fur for a window display and on the next we would be setting up a party for a perfume launch in a mansion on the Upper East Side. Then I would have to drive to Queens to pick up sheets of plexiglass. It was the perfect way to see all the different sides of the city. I loved that job.

Mar. 05 2010 10:48 AM
baris acar from manhattan

I am an engineer working in restoration industry in connection with New York's Local Law 11 for periodic façade inspections and repairs of buildings higher than 6 story buildings.

I have been into almost every hidden corners of the city and seen the city from highly unusual angles.

downside, riding scaffolds.
ups, I am usually outdoors traveling one job site to another.

Mar. 05 2010 10:44 AM
snoop from brooklyn

I always figured one of the worst jobs was driving a subway train underground. No sunlight, you don't even get to see people except as they whiz by on the platform, and when the train stops you stare out at the empty tunnel.

Glad that they get to move around and be on an outside line once in a while!

Mar. 05 2010 10:43 AM
Erik from Manhattan

I am the circulation director for a print magazine that has been around for over 50 years and who's founder was a NY icon, socialite, TV personality and mayoral candidate. In a world convinced that print media is dead, we have seen a 40,000 copy increase in circulation over the past 3 years. I content that print media is still alive and well and living in New York!

Mar. 05 2010 10:42 AM
the truth! from BKNY

Brian Lehrer a soda JERK??? What a set up, do I date touch that?!


Mar. 05 2010 10:37 AM

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