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john rogers | bye, bye baker street

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Photo: John Rogers

When I came to NYC I was a scared kid full of hopes and dreams. I got a job at a bakery and everyone was mean to me at first and no one would help me. Alfredo was the supervisor and for some reason made friends with me. He told me if I worked hard he would take care of me and make my life better. He did and I owe him all I have in my life. He is one of the greatest people I have ever met. Alfredo came to NY from Oaxaca Mexico in 1986. He worked as dishwasher and busboy for many years before starting at the bakery. He has worked at the bakery for 10 years, and is now the main supervisor of production.

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Photo: John Rogers

Odmaro is perhaps the hardest working person I have ever met in my life. He works 2 jobs, sometimes 3 jobs. He works 7 days a week basically on call at the bakery 24/7. He is in the maintenance department and can fix almost anything. He has worked at the bakery for 13 years. Odmaro has 3 kids. One of whom is serving in the marines in Iraq.

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Photo: John Rogers

Orlando came to New York 18 years ago from the Dominican Republic. He studied at CUNY and speaks and writes very well in English. He has been working at the bakery for 12 years and he is the mixing supervisor. He lives in Staten Island with his wife and 4 kids.

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Photo: John Rogers

Javier has worked as a baker for the last 9 years in Manhattan. One of my co workers from the bakery I worked in for the last 4 years. Today was my last day and it was sad to see the people go. This guy came to ny from Mexico City and has been here about 15 years. He now has two kids and lives in Queens NY.

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Photo: John Rogers

Vincente’ moved here a few years ago from Peru. His english is very basic and poor and he works for very low poor pay as a dishwasher and janitor. He works very hard sometimes 6 or 7 days a week, I feel very bad for him and his financial situation. Yet he remains happy, kindhearted and optimistic.

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Photo: John Rogers

Hector moved to NYC around 3 years ago from Columbia. He is very quiet and a hard worker and faithful churchgoer. He started as a janitor and is now a bakery supervisor. He is patient and has a great work ethic. His english skills are very poor and at times we argued. However I really respect him and hope very much his life goes well.

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Photo: John Rogers

Felix moved to NYC from Haiti about 15 or so years ago. He worked at the bakery as a janitor for 9 years at which point he graduated to a baker. He works very hard and is a devout christian. He has a son and daughter. His wife sadly is still trapped in haiti.

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John Rogers by John Rogers


These are some of my co-workers at the bakery I worked in for the last four years. Today I took another job at a computer store. I will miss these people very much. They taught me how fortunate I am to have been born in this country and to have received a good education. They work so hard their whole lives often for meager pay. To provide a better life for their children by working often times two jobs for 6 or 7 days a week. This is the New York City that most people have no idea about. They are all smart and can do better then this, but because they have no education and no help this is the best their life will ever be. I can tell you from conversations over the years that are all bright and smart people but life dealt them all the tough cards. Keep this in your head the next time you go out to eat. John Rogers

1 Comment

  1. Very touching, John. Best of luck to you.

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