Volunteers pick up shifts to help UES café after baristas walk out over war in Gaza

Joe Torres Image
Thursday, November 9, 2023
Volunteers pick up shifts at UES café after workers walk off the job
Joe Torres reports from Upper East Side with the story.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Shir Dekel worked the coffee machine at Caffé Aronne like a seasoned veteran. However, the truth is this day happened to be her first day on the job.

The 22-year-old politely said "no" to Eyewitness News' request for an interview, so her boss filled in the details to her story.

"She said, 'I just landed in New York this morning. My house was destroyed in Israel two days ago by a rocket," said Caffé Aronne owner Aaron Dahan. "I said, 'Do you know how to make coffee?' She said, 'I've been a barista for five years.' I said you're hired."

25-year-old Aaron Dahan told Eyewitness News that it's been like that all day, people pouring into his Upper East Side café to someway, somehow lend a helping hand.

People like Jacob Ganz of Long Island, who once owned two coffee shops before he became a psychologist and is now volunteering at the shop.

"You write letters if you can," said Ganz. "I can't join the army, so I just saw this and it was something that I can do and so I just dropped everything, and I came."

The sudden arrival of a new work force follows what happened on Tuesday, when a social media post mentioned how, in the last 10 days five employees walked off the job in protest of the 'Kidnapped' posters and Israeli flag hanging in the front window.

Lucy Yang has more on a Manhattan community's reaction after cafe workers walked out on the job.

That viral post quickly generated a line of customers that started on Lexington Avenue and stretched around the corner onto 71st Street.

"I just want to cry," said local customer Janet Goldenberg, who did just that. "How people want to get rid of us. It's unthinkable."


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More Manhattan news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.