Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Ellen's Stardust Diner This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Step into New York City, and discover a completely different world. A world that oozes energy— always moving, constantly changing. An abundance of glaring lights, speeding taxis, and towering skyscrapers charm the newcomer. And there are people — so many people. Thousands of anonymous eyes grace your own in Times Square, and you can’t help but feel a fleeting connection to them. We all can share in the magic of the Big Apple. It is here, in this splendid city, that you can have a humbling experience. While bumping into countless shoulders on the sidewalk, it is somewhat easier to fathom just how big the world is. New York City entices all types of people, from those wishing for financial success, to those wishing to have their harmonies heard. New York promises fame. New York promises joy. New York promises fulfillment of one’s desires, namely for those who can’t get Stephen Sondheim out of their heads. In New York, the talents of a young performing artist can blossom on Broadway. Shiny tap shoes in hand, America’s talented youth often find themselves in New York, each one hoping to conquer the “Big Stage.”

A small restaurant resides a couple streets over from the hustle-and-bustle of Times Square. It goes by Ellen’s Stardust Diner, a charming burger joint that hires aspiring singers and Broadway dreamers. It doesn’t look too spectacular from the outside, boasting only a small neon sign that’s seen better days. But once through those doors, you find yourself beaming like a child on Christmas morning. The atmosphere is incredible, bouncy and euphoric, and it greets you immediately. Waiters wear little black bow ties— the boys with button up shirts and slacks, the girls with old-fashioned blouses and cascading skirts. A disco ball circles overhead, swirling light on all the customers and the checkerboard dance floor. A colossal karaoke machine dominates the diner, its sweet symphonies reaching every corner. My attention finds the young woman in braids dancing on a table in the middle of the room, her boots stomping to the beat as she croons out her rendition of Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.” All eyes are on her, transfixed. She hits the last note, and the room erupts in applause and whistles. The diva waves and takes a little curtsy, then transforms from superstardom to once more become a waitress. I eat my food in absolute silence, completely engrossed in every performer. There’s a young man with an astounding voice straight out of the Opera; surprising, because with his inked body and piercings, he looks like he’d rather be on a Harley than be caught dead singing Andrea Bocelli. There’s a petite brunette who rocks out to “Rolling in the Deep;” her raspy voice channeling the likes of Joan Jett. Each person who takes the floor is incredibly talented. Yet, one person is etched in my memory forever. A young man, probably 26, steps on the stage. He’s gawky, about 5’7, and wears a wicked-cool mohawk. I might compare him to the sign outside: unassuming, a little tired-looking. The man nods to the woman on the karaoke machine. He gives a sly grin, then begins to sing “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. Well, I hate to break it you Mr. Mars, but Mr. Mohawk has you beat. His voice was unmatchable, pure and refreshing. He’d hit the high notes with lazy ease while serenading ladies around the restaurant. He wove through the tables, beaming at every customer, bouncing around in his scuffed-up Converse. When the brilliant rendition was over, I whistled and cheered until my voice grew hoarse. He took his bow, and graciously thanked everyone for the applause.

I was awestruck with the performance. Goosebumps sprouted on my arms from hearing the lovely voice. What a blessing, to hear someone so truly talented. Here is a man who was born to sing. Soon enough, however, I was snapped out of the fairy tale as I saw him carrying cheesecake to a nearby table. The problem is, I don’t know his name, and I’m afraid I never will. This young gent is merely three blocks from shiny Broadway, yet many miles away. There are so many talented, heartwarming performers out there —more than I ever realized. Especially in New York City, so many people have these fantastic gifts. Unfortunately, their talents may never truly come to light. It’s unfair how luck works. The young man works harder and deserves the spotlight far more than any Hilton or Kardashian. Perhaps he’s been dealt the wrong hand in life’s game of poker; he didn’t have the right cards for success. Still, I can’t help but wish everyone’s gifts could be glorified as they should. I felt myself wishing all the best for the mohawked waiter, and I still wonder about him from time to time. I know it’s a “dog-eat-dog” business, and not everyone can be happy, but I hope some in that enchanting little restaurant get their chance to shine.



Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

janice googenstein said...
Jun. 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm
very nassssss story
 
Site Feedback