Jonathan Melendez, who lives in Bushwick and was raised in Ridgewood has worked at Financier Patisserie at 983 First Ave. in the Sutton Place residential area of Midtown East since 2012. The shop, which has nine other locations around Manhattan, gives a free mini financier pastry with each coffee or tea purchase. Its coffees are roasted daily at its plant in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Can you describe the neighborhood in one word?
Warm. The vibe you get from most people you encounter here is like a ‘Cheers’ vibe – everybody knows your name. If you come here on a sunny day you’re not just feeling the warmth from the sun, you’re feeling the warmth from the people.
Is there anything that could be better about the area?
I think it could do with more events that showcase the businesses here and brings more attention to the area. There’s so many places to eat, there’s the marvelous view by the water and quality small businesses like locksmiths and hair salons. Summer can get vacant with people leaving to their summer homes so if there can be more involvement and more people here during the down time of summer it would be nice.
What’s the best thing about working in this shop?
This is a neighborhood coffee shop so we get a lot more locals than tourists. The best thing is the interaction with guests. They’re not customers anymore, they’re friends. People spend hours here and I can sit down and talk to them and have full-blown conversations. It keeps me grounded. This feels like a second home to me and the people that come in are all my relations and good friends.