There's a harrowing story in the Wall Street Journal today about a guy who's gone from ordering filet mignon at midtown's Palm Restaurant to working at their Tribeca location. No schadenfruede here; Carlos Araya, the son of a cab driver from Queens, worked his way up to become a successful crude oil trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The father of two young girls, he lost his job in 2007 when the financial industry got necklaced with a flaming tire. Now he's a host at The Palm. His wife went back to work as an administrative assistant; together they're pulling in $4,000 a month, but they're starting to miss mortgage payments on their Battery Park City apartment, and Araya tells the Journal, "At the end of the week, I get my paycheck and I think, 'I used to make this much in a day.'" Most awkward are the old colleagues still dining at The Palm; according to the article, "some are encouraging and offer hugs. Others sneer. 'The way they look at you, you know they're thinking negatively,' he says." And still others come in to ask if the restaurant is hiring.
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