Getting to Know the HamDel Lady

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There are many other members of both the Columbia and Morningside communities who make the years here a little more enjoyable. We at Bwog feel they deserve a little time in the spotlight for all their hard work. Today: Amy the HamDel lady

2:00 A.M. on a Saturday night: you’re all but crawling home, you lost your jacket and dignity somewhere and you’re so hungry you could eat a small person. Yet there are two reasons to praise the heavens: 1) Hamilton Deli is open and 2) no matter what sad state you’re in, you will find no judgment in the eyes of Amy (better known as The HamDel Lady) – not even when you order the Godfather Hero…with fries…and gummy bears…and Snapple.

Amy’s real name is Eman, “but nobody calls me that,” she says, “they can’t pronounce it. So it’s just Amy.” As I talk to her, she continues serving customer after customer. Originally from Alexandria, Egypt where she received a diploma in Social Service, she moved to the US nine years ago, after she broke up with her fiancée. She now lives in Queens, and can proudly declare “I take care of myself 100%.”

But she does miss her home. “[In Egypt] even the neighborhood is like family. If you disappear for two days they will knock on your door and ask you if you are okay. That’s the Arabic culture. New York is very lonely.”

From 8pm to midnight, Amy works at the Fortago Fully Loaded on Columbus and 106th before starting her shift at Ham Del from midnight to 6am. There, she cheerfully serves a constant throng of doctors and nurses, public safety officers, delivery people and students, all of whom she greets with a “Hi Honey,” if not by name. “There are so many different people who come here,” she tells me, “It’s a fun time… Even if I don’t know their names, I know their faces.” Despite her 62-hour week of night-shifts, Amy insists that she loves her job. “My boss is so good,” she says. “If one day I want to stay home, I can’t because I want to work for him. I cannot leave him.”

And what does she really think of our nocturnal cravings? As she rings up a mountain of food for three red-eyed sophomores she tells me, “I love the students. But sometimes you have to have patience, especially when they are drunk…I don’t mind. It’s funny.” Plus, she knows what keeps people coming back, “I don’t have a problem with anyone. I love everyone. Because I make everything go fast, they don’t have to wait.”

– Mahrah Taufique

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  1. BGRAAHH  


  2. I have

    stumbled into HamDel many many midnights to order my Mona Lisa's or Let It Rides and see her behind the countertop. She seems like a nice lady.

  3. I am sad that  

    Hamdel lady got rid of the "Whoop! There it is!" button

  4. dude  

    I love Amy. She's awesome.

  5. joseph daniels

    ummm everyone knows it's the hamdel "betch"

  6. god hates signs  

    sees me with a different drunk ho erry night

    never blows spots

  7. love her

    I used to come in every night at 2 in the morning. After a while, she started calling me "hungry girl." I love her.

  8. holy crap  

    this woman seriously makes Columbia a better place. i vote we make her a dean of something

  9. any11 know?  

    does anyone know if the hamdels deli is close to harmony hall?

  10. clg  

    bought beer from her at 3am on my 21st birthday. she got very excited and got the whole counter to wish me a happy brithday. what a sweet lady!

  11. omg  

    AMYYYYYY she's the best

  12. doood  

    hamdel should just take over for john jay food

  13. bwog

    you really been stepping it up this week. i guess it's because enough time has passed to get into the swing of things, but all the great articles lately have been much appreciated.

    i know the hamdel lady doesn't know my name, but the fact that she still calls me honey makes me feel better than almost anything.

  14. CC '09

    Such a sweetheart. On my way to commencement I swung in for a bagel and seeing me in grad robes she gave me a big hug.

  15. hahahaha  

    i see you posted mikey, this is ya boy

  16. possibly  

    my favorite bwog article. hats off, bwog!

  17. CC 09

    lived three years in ec.

    my meal plan was "hamdel"

    what i would give for an nypd.

  18. going to hamdel  

    is often my one good decision after a night of many very bad decisions...and it's always a comfort to see Amy there.

  19. i can't believe  

    that she works from 8pm to 6am and is still so nice to everyone! it's great to have people like that around Columbia.




  21. Security Lady

    She is the best! You can always count
    on her to make you smile after an hard night shift as a guard. I look
    forward getting my bagel and coffee
    every night.

  22. former wiener  

    I'm in bad standing with her because I'd order and come 30 minutes later. :(

  23. Amira

    I know! She rocks!! "I take care of myself 100%" Love that!!! :)

  24. jamieprem


  25. wael

    I love amy. she is really a descent, kind, lovable person. she fighted every little minute of he life but her weapon was only the cuty smile on her face.

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