Narrowsburg news: From his perch, he watches the town grow

By Greg Triggs
Posted 11/26/19

The population of Narrowsburg, NY, according to the 2010 census, is 431 people. That’s 94 people fewer than my high school graduating class. 

That’s 431 people who run the grocery …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Narrowsburg news: From his perch, he watches the town grow

Posted

The population of Narrowsburg, NY, according to the 2010 census, is 431 people. That’s 94 people fewer than my high school graduating class. 

That’s 431 people who run the grocery store, serve us coffee, pave our roads, or help us pump our gas, such as Julio Derivet, whom you’ll often find manning the booth at the Sunoco Station on Kirks Road.

Julio usually works about 50 hours a week, rain or snow, warm or cold, six days a week. He’s there to answer your questions or reauthorize a pump when something has gone wrong. He patiently explains Pete’s reward program and how you can get $2 back for every 250 points you earn. I overhear him say, “It’s like getting a free car wash next door!” when walking a new customer through the process.

He has always struck me as someone friendly and warm who knows when to say, “Hi,” or perhaps more importantly when not to, depending on the customer’s mood. 

Born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, like all of us who are not originally from here, Julio has a story that led him to Sullivan County. To Tusten. To Narrowsburg. To the booth on Kirks Road, where he has worked for three years.

When asked for details Julio says, “I took the long route.”

Julio was working as a computer repairman on September 11th. Starting his morning on the 85th floor of the World Trade Center. He had forgotten a tool needed to remove safety screws, so he went back to the office. As he reached 39 Ann Street in lower Manhattan, he saw the first plane hit.

“I put down the screwdriver and stayed put,” but a year later he “couldn’t take it anymore,” so he headed to Sioux Falls, SD. Colder than he expected, Julio kept exploring. Flower Mound and Grapevine, TX eventually led him to Honesdale, where he worked for Walmart.

After moving to Narrowsburg, he was looking for something with a shorter commute. While buying groceries he casually asked if Pete’s was hiring. They told him they’d need someone for the gas station when it opened, so he waited eight months for the construction to finish. He’s happily been in his booth ever since.

While working at Walmart, he was getting by with the help of food stamps. No more. Julio’s job allows him to be completely and proudly self-sufficient. He can indulge in his love for his beloved car, a well-taken-care-of Honda that is parked well within sight of his booth. He finds time to fish when he can.

From his perch, he notices Narrowsburg changing. More people, more consistently. “Last year we had people coming through year-round. Before then, it was like a ghost town in the winter. We’ve got the new café. The new liquor store. Two Queens. The new gym on Main Street. I’m hoping to join it soon.” Julio then adds, “It’s nice seeing the town grow.”

He passes the time watching YouTube videos learning how to fix things and helping customers—I suspect ones from Jersey, who seem confused by pumping gas. Wearing layers during the colder months, he also has a heater that keeps the booth toasty warm. Always keeping his sense of humor, he says that a bad day and a good day are essentially the same. He just has to remember to laugh.

“It’s never a bad day really. I love my job.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment