PLEASE SUPPORT W42ST
W42ST runs on limited resources to keep Hell’s Kitchen connected, updated and upbeat. Access is totally free. Please consider supporting what we do so that we can continue our work!
Attorney, lecturer on business ethics at NYU and small business leader Suraj Patel worked on both of President Obama’s campaigns and served in the White House as an Advance Associate. Here’s his West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I moved to NYC for law school in 2006 and have been here ever since!
How did you end up in Hell’s Kitchen?
I live in the East Village but am now running to represent Hell’s Kitchen in the newly configured 12th Congressional District.
What’s your favorite thing about Hell’s Kitchen?
The vibrancy of the neighborhood.
More West Side Stories
And what’s your Hell’s Kitchen pet peeve?
Did you stay put when the pandemic hit or did you find an escape for some of the time?
I stayed put when the pandemic hit. It was in the middle of my 2020 run and after the pandemic hit, our campaign transformed into a volunteer organization delivering thousands of meals with CityMeals on Wheels, delivering supplies to seniors, procuring thousands of dollars worth of food in partnership with House of Spices to donate to hospitals, donating food and supplies to NYCHA residents, and partnering with local restaurants to donate meals to hospital workers on the frontlines.
What did you do for work pre-COVID? What are you doing now?
I am an attorney, lecturer on business ethics at NYU and small business leader. I worked on both of President Obama’s campaigns and served in the White House as an Advance Associate. I am currently running for Congress in New York’s 12th Congressional District which now includes Hell’s Kitchen.
Tell us one thing that’s given you hope during the pandemic?
Seeing New Yorkers come together in the middle of the pandemic when we were the epicenter at a time when much of the nation was seemingly divided. It showed you that America is best when New York leads.
What’s the most serendipitous (random/obscure/ insane) experience that’s happened to you in Hell’s Kitchen?
It wasn’t serendipitous at the time but it certainly feels so now. While working advance for the Obama Administration, we hosted eight fundraisers at the Richard Rodgers Theatre showing Hamilton. Not only does the show — and that president — still very much influence the way I think and hope, but it’s the soundtrack I listen to on my morning runs ahead of campaigning to try and represent the greatest city in the world.
What’s your closest brush with world fame and celebrity?
Flying back on Air Force One after being in India with President Obama.
What’s your superpower?
My campaign team often tells me I have a photographic memory.
What song do you sing at the top of your voice in the shower?
Don’t Stop Me Now — Queen
Which people inspire you the most?
My parents, Barack Obama and Robert F. Kennedy.
What’s your favorite quote or saying?
Yes we can.
Do you love Times Square? Why, or why not?
Yes — I love going to shows on Broadway and seeing the thousands of tourists from all over the world just reminds me that this is the greatest city in the world.
Do you love Hudson Yards? Why, or why not?
I do not love Hudson Yards, it’s just not my vibe!
Hell’s Kitchen Happy Places
Manhattan Plaza — One of my favorite spots to campaign.
Terminal 5 — I saw St Lucia at this concert venue and am eager to go back.
Legacy Records — Love their cocktails.
John’s of Time Square — One of my go-to pre-theater dinner spots.
The Brazen Tavern — The spot to grab a Guinness after campaigning.
Frisson Espresso — Great place to grab a latte.
Westway Diner — Seinfeld!
Taco Mahal — One of the best fast-casual Indian spots with excellent pricing.
Hudson River Park — The beautiful views.
Corner Slice — Eggplant hero is to die for!