Midtown Indian restaurant in the heart of Manhattan would

Midtown Manhattan is the commercial hub
of New York City, where the largest concentration of business exchange in the
world takes place. In addition, it is home to a number of iconic buildings such
as the Empire State Building, and the Chrysler Building. Midtown Manhattan is
also home to a large number of people coming from a diversity of backgrounds
(Urban Mapping). In such an ambiance, the establishment of a competitively
priced Indian restaurant would be culturally out of place, considering the fact
the Midtown Manhattan is a high end commercial district. Yet, there is one that
is buzzing throughout the day with people from different backgrounds trying to
get a seat.

The majority of the transformations in
Manhattan begin in the 1920s with the reconstruction of Grand Central Station.
This decision increased access to the city and led to a capitalist revolution
in the surrounding area. Midtown Manhattan emerged as a commercial center. This
shift ignited a chain of reactions that encompassed both commercial and
residential development.

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In addition, Midtown Manhattan also built
up an exclusive shopping district attracting individuals and organizations from
across the globe. The accelerated urban growth in the city led the property
value to rise and was referred to as the “Valley of the Giants” (Miller).
Another urban development that took place was the expansion of the service
industry, where administration offices, advertising agencies, law firms,
national and international organizational branches were established (Miller).
All of these changes led to Midtown Manhattan becoming the economic point of
attraction it is today.

A historical analysis of the urban
development of Manhattan highlights the accuracy of this, where the economic
boom launched a number of urban projects. This fosters a particular class of
capitalists and bourgeoisie who benefit from the modern, surreal urban
experience.

From an etic perspective, the
establishment of an Indian restaurant in the heart of Manhattan would not be successful. First, it
would mainly appeal to the Indian population of Manhattan, which is only a
minority. According to
statistics, 68% of the population in Midtown Manhattan is of white origin,
while 18% Asians, 8% Hispanic, 4% black and 2% people of other origins reside
in the area (New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene 2). This
highlights that Manhattan is a pluralistic society, where a number of cultures
exist side by side. The second largest demographic in Manhattan is Asian, which
as a broad category that encompasses many different countries. When following a
concept of pluralism, it is clear that there would be a clientele for the
Indian restaurant, but it would be small.

 Looking
on yelp, there are many Indian restaurants in the outer avenues such as 3rd
or 9th but very few exist near times square. I found the restaurant
Curry Dreams in 2015 when I was first hired as a junior producer for a news media
organization. I frequented the location many times for lunch and even the staff
knows my usual order. I asked the owner who was ok with me sticking around for
a few hours after I ate and the free refills of mango lassi made the stay even
better. Curry Dreams has all of their items marked at a price that doesn’t fit with
the norm of other establishments I have visited in the nearby area. The
establishment is filled with traditional Indian instrumentals playing on repeat
and the lightening that is also dim. One of the first things I noticed were the
type of people who visited the established.

Curry dreams runs a lunch buffet which is
very popular. I noticed the people who visit during the lunch hours. I did not
see any tourist, or families. Rather, everyone was a businessman who probably worked
nearby. Everyone was white, wearing a button-down shirt, and was wearing tie or
suit jacket. There were also no females. Even at an Indian restaurant, I was
the minority.

An
Indian restaurant would be culturally irrelevant when considering the lifestyle
of the people living or visiting Times Square/Bryant Park. It is a relatively
young city, where the people are wealthy with bourgeoisie tastes. On another line of thought,
Orientalism has a certain appeal for the West, which might boost the sales of
an Indian restaurant. However, if the establishment is not up to the picky
standards of the young, middle class, interest would decline. The food served
at Curry Dreams was not above and beyond nor was it a dump. It fit the price
they were charging. During my stay, past lunch time, the restaurant was nearly
empty. At max, it was 1/3 at capacity during the dinner hours I stayed. I asked
the waiter if it was a slow night or if this was normal. He stated that the
dinner service was much slower and it usually gets a 50% occupancy on a good
day.

The staff have a hard time with the English
language although the managers and owners do speak English fairly well. Curry
Dream just does not meet the expectation of its neighborhood. Sure, many businessmen
come in for a quick lunch but it is not a place that many tourist or the ‘average
joe’ would go in this area. This is even more conclusive when you look at the
reviews on Yelp. It has over a hundred reviews with an average of two stars. One
reviewer even named it ‘Curry Nightmares’. Many reviewers who gave it a low rating
said the food was ok but the staff or customer service was lacking. I asked a
co-worker via text about his opinion as we have gotten lunch together several
times from Curry Dreams. His argument was that people had a level of
expectation when they decide to eat in midtown. People expect excellent food
and customer service that treats them like royalty. But when you’re eating a 3-course
meal for 2 people and the total is under 35 dollars, what do you think you were
going to get?

Midtown
Manhattan is one of the commercial capitals of the entire world. Although it
has a relatively short history in terms of urban development, it can be
considered one of the well-planned cities. The city consists of a pluralistic
society where the majority belongs to the middle class. There needs to be
further studies done on the role of average low-cost restaurants and their
affect on the communities itself but also on the group that decide to eat there.
I would have liked to spend more time observing and gathering more data such as
the occupations and income of those who did eat there. Overall, more research
should be done on the role of these types of establishments play in an area
such as midtown.