Until last year, John Hyun used to get up at the crack of dawn and rush to Hunts Point Cooperative Market. Hyun would get fruit and vegetables, load his van and drive to his grocery store just north of Hunts Point.
What came next was the hard day of an immigrant who tries to build his way up in New York: a 12-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week marathon, day after day, spent moving sacks of potatoes and fulfilling the often unpredictable requests of old ladies.
“They’re never happy with the size of their apples,” said Hyun.
Now John Hyun, who has tiny, weathered hands, salt and pepper hair and a face that looks as it had been carved out of stone, still works 12-hour days, but he is no longer so frantically busy.