Hundreds of unemployed or partially-employed Bronxites lined up in front of the Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse for a chance to get a job at the new BJ's Wholesale Club at the Gateway Center Mall.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow, BJ's is conducting on-the-spot interviews to fill all of its job vacancies, which include everything from bakers to assistant meat merchandising managers.
People in line were mostly people of color and ranged in age from teenagers to senior citizens.
Janette, 21, said she was self-employed as a baby-sitter, but that work had dried up lately, forcing her to look for other work.
Janette and others said the estimated two-hour wait time was worth it for a chance at a BJ's job. Bronx unemployment clocked in at 9.8% for April (8.1% in New York City), the last month where statistics are available. Last year, in April, only 6% of Bronxites were considered unemployed.
Willie Gupton, dressed sharply in a suit and tie, said he'd been out of work for six months despite looking constantly.
Maribelle, who said she was in her 30s has three kids, said her seasonal job with the Parks Department recently ended and that bills were piling up, but that job opportunities were scarce. "There's not a lot out there," she said. "Not a lot of people are hiring."
Another man, who works part-time for the Mets and declined to give his name -- "I will hunt you down if I see my name in the paper," he told me -- said simply, "The economy is [expletive] up right now." He added, "It's hard out here. Real hard."
Ed. Note: BJ's said in a press release, If you're unwilling to attend, call (718) 681-1739 to set up an appointment. You can also fax resumes to (718) 681-4243 or email them to email@example.com (make sure to include the code: EOH/176/BT).