By James Maher
Name: Dawn Haberman
Occupation: Employee at Juicy Lucy
Location: Avenue A, Between 5th and 6th Street
Time: 12:30 pm on Monday, Feb 10.
I’m from Rhode Island. I moved here about 13 years ago, right after 9/11, into Ridge Street. A good friend of mine was a makeup artist who had moved here 4 years before and he convinced me to come. I loved it and I loved this neighborhood in particular. I loved the characters and people. It’s diverse and it has everything and everybody. I started working at Juicy Lucy pretty much as soon as I got here. I’m a juice queen, a juice princess.
Juicy Lucy opened a few years before I got here, in 1996 at the stand on 1st and 1st and this location opened in 2000. The stand goes back a long time, although I don’t know the exact year. It is one of the oldest freestanding stands in the city. It used to be a shoeshine stand and it used to be a flower shop. It’s grandfathered in because they don’t allow those structures to be in business anymore.
It’s an amazing spot in the summer. Everyone’s sitting out on the benches. It’s a fun gathering spot. Everybody loves that corner. You have the subway, and you get to people watch and everything. I’ve seen so many interesting outfits and costumes. Halloween is my favorite day here. You get all the little kids in costumes lined up to come in.
The owner is René Henrick. She’s a woman — a woman who has owned a business in New York City since 1996. She’s my hero and she’s a great teacher. We work really closely together now and I feel very much part of this place. She was working as a bartender at Boca Chica and decided that she wanted to do her own thing so she rented the stand on 1st and 1st. She started basically out of nothing. It was slow growing but she built a little niche for herself.
She knew a lot of people in the neighborhood and we still see some of the regular customers who were there from the beginning, the ones who haven’t moved. She’s Cuban so we’re Latin based, a Latin company with a Latin feeling and Latin music. We’re lucky we’re still around. It’s hard because there’s a lot of competition now. We try to stay at the point where we’re small and we want people to be able to have access to this stuff. This is juice for the people. We try to keep the prices low.
The original name was Live Juice. When this store opened we needed a new name and Juicy Lucy’s just stuck. Everyone took to it and it took over the Live Juice name. Everyone asks who Lucy is. All of us are Lucy. I say we’re all Lucy. There is a little older woman who always sees me and says, Lucy!
We’re also doing a lot of catering but our regular customers are our backbone. It’s a nice feeling to be part of the community and neighborhood. That’s our big thing. The community connects me to the place and it makes this place a little warmer. That’s why I’ve stayed so long. There’s not a lot of this left. Hopefully we can stay as long as they’ll have us.
James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.