Ryan Brodsky has now retired from the world of finance, and he and his dog Quarter are often to be found exploring the streets of Hell’s Kitchen or at Astro’s Dog Run. This is Ryan’s West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I was born in Miami, and moved just north of Boston at age 11. I went to college in Boston and after 15 years there I came to New York City about 13 years ago for work… and to live in the city where both my younger brothers were and my parents had grown up.
What was your first job? What do you do now?
My first job at age 15 was as a dishwasher at Pizza Hut in Milford, NH in 1988. I have worked in retail, finance, for the executive branch and finally in high level financial IT, or trading systems support, training and settlement. I am now retired, at the ripe old age of 50.
What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
Jeez, that’s hard. I love the city, but favorite moments… The view of the Empire State Building from my place, watching the sunset from our rooftop pool, seeing SNL live (a bucket list item checked off), the Macy’s Parade balloon inflation, going off-leash on a beautiful morning in Central Park with my dog, seeing the Astro’s Dog Run community thrive — there are so many!
Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
It’s all here… great restaurants, great people, diversity, local shops and big box groceries, active community and a unified hate of the Lincoln Tunnel — but more than anything I LOVE where I live. I love my building, amenities, neighbors, staff, location and management. I use the hashtag #lovewhereyoulive for all these reasons.
What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
My superpower is generosity — with my time, with my money or resources and with my community. New York City has been very good to me and I try and give that back and share whatever I can whenever I can, from inviting strangers on the street snapping pics of the Empire State Building up to my 56th floor roofdeck to enjoy the view, to handing out Target gift cards to those in need on our walk to Central Park, to watching my neighbors’ dogs when they are away, to volunteering at the Holy Apostles Food Pantry or on the Volunteer Board at Astro’s Community Dog Run.
What else should we know about you?
My dog’s picture (Quarter) is in an ad on the side of my building on 40th and 10th and my picture was on the 40th Street side of the Port Authority for about a year as part of an unrelated community art project — putting both of us on the sides of buildings on the same street at the same time, which makes us the Mayor and First Dog of W40th Street. Honorary Royalty, in my mind anyway. I love where I live for 10 months of the year and spend March and April in Miami practicing snowbirding and waiting for the temps in New York to get back to a consistent “shorts weather.”
read more west side stories
Ryan’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places
Astro’s Dog Run — 525 10th Avenue (bw W39/40th St)
A hidden gem right next door that kept me sane during the Pandemic and that my dog and I both love.
Superior Gourmet Marketplace — 555 10th Avenue (bw W40/41st St)
This is the bodega in my building and thus, MY bodega. I am fiercely loyal (except if I need lottery tickets). They are open 24/7, have GREAT food and great staff — and of course a bodega cat (Timmy) that my 50 pound dog is terrified of.
Big Apple Meat Market — 577 9th Avenue (bw W41/42nd St)
From shopping in their temp space with the sawdust basement floors to their much larger and modern location back at the POD Hotel, they have affordable groceries, friendly staff, great meats and an amazing deli that make it easy to never have to shop at the Overpriced Food Emporium ever again.
Empanada Mia — 612 W46th Street (bw 11th/12th Ave)
It’s a hole in the wall, off the beaten path that has amazing Chilean Empanadas in a variety of flavors, the best of which is the Grandma Recipe I think it’s called.
2 Bros Pizza — 542 9th Avenue (corner of W40th St)
One of the only cheap things in the city is a slice, and for $1.50 they have great pizza and people watching. I can stop in, grab a slice, fold it in half, lose the plate and enjoy a real New York experience eating a slice outside and watch folks from all walks wait in line for a slice and all the surrounding street drama and still look up and see my building just a block away and be grateful for where I live and the amazing place I call home.
Odyssey Wine and Spirits — 490 10th Avenue (bw W37/38th St)
Great staff and suggestions and great prices. They have never steered me wrong with any suggestion, nor is the best suggestion always the most money. I trust the staff, they have dog biscuits for Quarter, a great and manageable selection, free delivery and competitive prices — like a $25 box of wine was $12 cheaper than the liquor store on 41/10.
West Side Steakhouse — 597 10th Avenue (bw W43/44th St)
Great food at neighborhood prices, a steakhouse that won’t break the bank. Try the thick cut bacon. Mmmm.
The Marshal — 628 10th Avenue (bw W44/45th St)
Wow, most of my places are food… I guess I could have seen that coming. Best pandemic pivot ever…from Farm to Table to Farm to Pizza. Everything is good, locally sourced, friendly staff, they have their own delivery drivers, have a great loyalty program and the wood oven pizza is amazing, as are the meatballs and mac and cheese.
Local small business does not always need to have a brick and mortar. Shareef who lives on 43rd, the owner of Boipackage designs kaftans and other fashionable wears along with selling underwear and other gear to the LGBTQ Community, gives back with charity fashion shows, and a percentage of each purchase going to trans support.
Eric Michaels Presents
Again, another non-traditional place. Eric is a party producer for LGBTQ Night Life and my friend and Hell’s Kitchen neighbor. Eric’s productions are different because he cares about the LGBTQ community, many of whom live in HK and his events and parties show a level of care and community not often found in New York nightlife. All that makes his community feel at home at his events so they can have the best experience possible and thrive. He’s not in it for the money and his reputation, his events, his personality and heart and soul show that — and he produces some pretty damn good events with the best DJs from around the world to boot!
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
There are so many places I could list. W42ST is also a favorite business and keeps up to date on the pulse of what’s happening in our area… Thank you Phil!!
You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.