One of the best parts about living in New York is that everyone has a fascinating backstory. Like the Lower East Side doorman who's an ex-aerospace engineer-turned-stage actor — and had his education paid for by Christian Dior. Or, the barista in Prospect Heights who sold her eggs to move to the Big Apple, and wonders if she'll end up meeting her kid one day.
That's exactly what inspired Meredith Hattam to launch The Waiting Room, a blog dedicated to chronicling the stories of the men and women working in New York's hospitality industry. Through intimate interviews and black-and-white imagery, the freelance journalist and graphic designer documents all aspects of their lives — from how they ended up in the city to their goals and ambitions. Some of the tales are sweet; others are pretty shocking. All of them will make you want to strike up more conversations as you make your way through the city each day.
Ahead, meet 12 people who may have served you a slice of pizza or made you a latte last week. Remember — everyone has a story, and it's rarely what you think.