Everyone has one—a barista you’re totally smitten with, a hot dog vendor who turns heads, a waitress that gets you wet or a dreamboat bouncer who haunts your every waking moment. The idea behind the LUST LIST was to take nominations from our readers to determine what sort of straight crushes, gay love and bi-curious longing was out there for those in the service industries. Quite a few descriptions were lobbed our way—"the girl with the neck tattoo who gets me my coffee," "the hottie who has arms that go on for days"—and then it was our job to hunt these people down and profile some of New York’s most desirable people. We even determined if they were available to date, what sex they preferred and the best way to flirt with them next time you order that burrito.
Of course, it turns out that many of these sexpots may moonlight as someone to serve you, but they have aspirations to be a star or globetrotting explorer or big-time theater director or artist or musician. We must admit, the entire process turned out to be fun for everyone. As Linnea Covington, who photographed most of the List, explains: "It’s kind of fun going up to people and being like, ‘I hear you are hot, let me shoot you.’" And she turned out to develop a few new crushes of her own.
Occupation/Location: Bartender at UWS wine bar Riposo 72, theater director
Status: Single, looking for men
Background: Ian, a D.C. native, went to school at Georgetown. He landed his first serving gig by walking into a restaurant he frequented with "my tail between my legs" to ask for a job. Although enjoying himself, this theater lover felt the art community in D.C. was too dull for his palate, so he moved to the city over two years ago, where he has since immersed himself in the world of cabaret and emerging playwrights, supplementing his artistic side with evening bartending.
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "Don’t ask if my tattoos are real!" Williams says. (They are real, by the way). This self-proclaimed "new New Yorker" wants someone to show him around neighborhoods outside of Hell’s Kitchen and Hamilton Heights (where he lives). "Take me to see Spider-Man."
What’s your favorite local band or actor or something of interest? "If it’s not being spoon-fed to me at a bar, I don’t really know." He likes old-school soul and R&B, but he’s afraid that’s not cool enough to state publicly.
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? "I’m a nice guy and I’ll help friends out," he says with a smile. "And my dimples."
Occupation/Location: DJ at Mehanata Bulgarian
Status: In a relationship, with a guy
Background: "I never thought I would DJ outside of my living room," say Soyfer, aka DJ Eerochka. "It’s all I ever wanted to do, but I was just so scared." A year-and-a-half later, she is spinning world music at various places in the city, but Mehanata is one of the Ukrainian immigrant’s favorites (thanks to the support from fellow DJ Uproot Andy and Balkan Beat Box member Ori Kaplan). Soyfer moved to Pennsylvania when she was 11 and came to the city in 2003 after studying fashion at Drexel in Philly.
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "Buy me a shot of vodka, and I will be nice to you. And please, don’t request any Top 40 songs—ever."
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? "The fact that anyone thinks I am hot enough to contact the paper is just bizarre."
Occupation/Location: Cashier at Mimi’s Pizza Kitchen in UES
Status: Married with kids
Background: This Manhattan native has been working the evening shift at Mimi’s for six years. He enjoys biking to work and doing Tai chi and hatha yoga to keep his fantastic physique.
What’s your favorite local band? "I love all types of music," Bernstein says. "I don’t go out much to see local bands because I’m here at night. Those days are kind of gone."
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "Smile!"
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? "I have no idea, I feel like someone is playing a joke on me," the humble hottie says. "I guess it’s my smile and the way that I communicate with people. I think I’m approachable."
Occupation/Location: Barista at Green Grape Provisions in Fort Greene, student
Background/profile: Ryan has worked as a barista at several locations for the past three years. His perfect vocation? "I would get paid to write, like, I’d clock in and some big vat of money would mail-tube me wads of cash every hour. But that’s just a dream."
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "Being a goof with me while I’m serving you coffee. And standard modes of flirting always work well."
What’s your favorite local band? "Does The National still count?"
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? "No clue, you can totally see me pick my nose and stuff through the windows. But dear customer, thanks!"
Occupation/Location: Server at Sunburnt Cow in the LES, photographer and videographer
Status: Single, looking for women
Background/profile: Originally from Sunshine Coast, Australia, when he isn’t serving the all-you-can-drink brunch at the Sunburnt Cow, he keeps himself busy doing video and photography. He has been in the city for only six months and likes "getting paid to hang out at the bar," but he really hopes to get paid to travel the world and write and photograph it.
What’s your favorite band? A Tribe Called Quest
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "She’s gotta have big tips!"
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? "The silver foxes, aka gray hairs."
Occupation/Location: Bartender at Rodeo Bar
Background/profile: Born in Virginia to third generation New Yorkers, Jenny "ran back as fast as I could" to the city 20 years ago. Her favorite part of working at Rodeo Bar is having live music every night. (But her secret desire is to make films in exotic, unfamiliar places.)
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "I like to say I hate the hit, but if you do it with wry sensitivity and a little side of damaged, that seems to do the trick. Of course, I’m working on that one."
What’s your favorite local band? "Hands down The Veda Rays! Imagine that your favorite rock ‘n’ roll band secretly had a deviant psychosexual sibling that grew up and ate them. It’s kind of like that.
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? "I really couldn’t say—must be something in the margaritas."
Occupation/Location: Manager at Culture Espresso in Midtown West
Status: Single and digging ladies who "love good music, drinking and don’t watch TV."
Background: Norton’s been living in Williamsburg and working in Manhattan for seven years and "loving it." After dropping out of high school in San Diego, he spent a few years hitchhiking and riding freight trains before settling down on the East Coast in 2004.
What’s your favorite local band? "Stupid Party has great music."
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "Buy me a drink!" (His favorite is a whiskey soda.)
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? "Because I’m really good at putting the heart in my lattes… and I wink a lot!"
Occupation/Location: Barista at Oro Bakery and Bar in Little Italy
Status: In a relationship (with her girlfriend)
Background/profile: Born and raised in Brooklyn, Z has flitted about the United States and Europe. After a prolonged sojourn in the south of France, she’s back and trying to figure out what to do. So far, getting up at the crack of dawn to serve coffee and some of the best pastries you have ever had seems to be doing the trick. Aside from that, she loves "summertime bike riding and reading in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden."
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "You should tip me really, really well. That always makes me notice!"
What’s your favorite local band? "I like La Défense and my cousin’s band, Dropdown."
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? Because I am friends with [a certain] writer, and she thinks I am really hot."
Occupation/Location: Server at Pure Food and Wine in Gramercy
Status: In a relationship, with a guy
Background: "I’m a Queens girl," Campo says, when asked about her origins. She began waiting tables for the flexibility, so she could travel. After graduating from Queensland College, where she studied sociology, Campo has since traveled the entire South American continent (by road) and lived in China. On a completely different note, Campo is now in the process of donating "one fabulous kidney to [her] Mama Rosa."
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "No numbers on the check, please. Straightforward, but not too cocky." Cheesy one-liners aren’t so bad after all, according to her. "You took care of me, let me take care of you," she says, isn’t necessarily a foul. "It’s nice to for a man to break the ice, even if he’s a cheeseball."
What’s your favorite band? "Mana. It’s this awesome Mexican rock group. I can’t stop listening to them. And Manu Chao. Always."
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? "My smile."
Eric Scioli (but only answers to Eric Yo!)
Occupation/Location: Cashier at Gramercy’s Baorrito & Mikey’s Burger in LES
Status: Single, seeking women
Background: This Italian-American cutie went to Catholic High School and now studies Environmental Science at Brooklyn College. Juggling two cashier jobs in Manhattan on his days off, Yo! has big goals. "My dream is to open a three-part mega-complex. Part pet store, part smoke shop and part awesome burger joint."
What’s the best way for a customer to hit on you? "Be daring and slip me an awesome note. Make it fun and exciting if you want to catch my attention—that will definitely get you more points with me."
What’s your favorite local band? This lover of reggae and island tunes drew a blank: "I wish I could tell you, but I forgot their name."
Why do you think you’re on the Lust List? "It’s my relaxed, chilled, warm attitude. I’m up for anything as long as it’s fun, like, mad fun. I love dancing, yo. It’s my favorite thing in the world. Also, I’m mad relaxed. Like maaaaaaaaaaaad relaxed. Did you get that?"
Contributors: Linnea Covington, Paulette Safdieh, Anna Sanders, Spencer Winans.
Photos by Linnea Covington.
Six New York Press readers submit tales of acting on their own lustful impulses
I had just started at NYU when I went to get drinks with my friend at a little pub in the West Village. They had a small jazz band playing that night, and we were getting pretty drunk on wine and enjoying the surprisingly good music when I realized that the sax player was tall, blond and hot. At the end of the night, I wrote on a cocktail napkin “Let’s get together,” with my name and number, and I went up to him and said, “You were really great and I think you’re cute. Call me sometime.” And he did! I was only 18, so it was pretty innocent, but it was sexy and made me feel like a grown-up in the city. His name was Tom and he was a Mormon from Utah. He would pick me up at my dorm and drive me around on his bike handlebars and we would drink pitchers at dive bars, talk about life, smoke pot and make out. It only lasted for a month and then he disappeared. —Carla, 28, Fort Greene
I once was at The Strand’s bookstand on the southeast corner of Central Park, and there was this absolutely adorable guy working there. I found an old copy of The Age of Innocence, so I bought it and then wrote my name and number on it and gave it to him. He said, “I have a boyfriend,” and I said, “Well, you know, sometimes you get a book and don’t pick it up and read it until much later, so keep that in mind.” Then I turned and walked away. Those two had better be gay-married now. —Robbie, 30, Midtown
Technically, my roommate, who I suspect disdains my taste in men, found Luigi for me. He waited on us at a local red-sauce restaurant, and my roommate, against my admittedly weak protests, left my number for him. Luigi texted that night. The next night we got drinks. And then ate and smoked pot and fucked. We spent nearly every night for three weeks doing the same. It’s a month later now and he’s back in Italy. But we’re meeting in late March in Seville, and I’m stupidly hopeful. —Danielle, 31, Williamsburg
I can’t remember her name but she had a really thick British accent and looked like an extra from Oliver Twist. I was working security at a hardcore show and she said she liked my shoulders. “English men are like wee boys,” she said. “I want a big, strapping American man.” When I got off work, I brought her to Don Hills. She was as impressed by the free drinks as she was unimpressed by the quality of our blow. Still, she was good to go. What you’ve heard about English girls is true: They give up the ass and quick. She was a fun, crazy lay, but when she tried to compare my music to Jack Johnson, well, that drove it home that this was just a short-term thing. We got it on once more with her screaming into the pillow in that awesome, ridiculous accent, and then I gave her directions back to her hotel—and she didn’t even shake me down for carfare. I’ll never forget you, whatever your name is! —Mike, 33, Greenpoint
I was out for hookah at Horus Café on 6th and B, when the smokin’ hot coal boy handed me a blank check and asked for my number. We met up and made out a few times before I left for school. Months later, I was on a date with another guy when I ran into that same hot coal guy on the street. He asked for my number again, in front of my date, and we met up a few days later at his apartment. He did a piss-poor job of explaining the bras hanging in the shower and pictures of his girlfriend on the fridge, but I knew our tryst was really over when he accidentally blurted out that he loved me. —Deb, 24, UES
My local coffee shop was nothing more than that to me until I found myself in the vulnerable position of having been recently dumped, and therefore open to possible rebound opportunities. And so I started to eye the young, bearded barista, née “graphic artist,” who served me my iced soy lattes with something of a jaguar’s eye, ready to pounce. His name was Thyme. Like the spice, the strange incense. Like Simon and Garfunkel. Thyme. He had plugs in his ears, a thing I usually hate, but felt compelled to overlook given the nature of the situation. We flirted for weeks before I left my number on a credit card receipt; he was in my bed two nights later. It happened once. It was fine. He passed as a lover, but barely. Bronze medal in rebound sex; better at latte foaming. Word to the wise: Don’t sleep with your local barista. This makes it hard to go back for your daily caffeine injections, and you’ll have to start shooting it into your veins somewhere far less savory and close to a public park. Also, don’t accidentally call Thyme “Tim” later because you can’t remember his ridiculous name. And remember to tip. —Heather, 27, Park Slope