Meet the Theatre District Doorman and Chauffeur Who See It All and Love It All | Playbill

Outside the Theatre Meet the Theatre District Doorman and Chauffeur Who See It All and Love It All A theatre district chauffeur and doorman open up about the hotel life and the craziest thing to ever happen on 44th Street.
Irfan Chowdhury and Ali Abde Monica Simoes
Irfan Chowdhury and Ali Abde Monica Simoes

Who: Irfan Chowdhury and Ali Abde
Stopped: Outside the Belasco Theatre on W. 44th Street

How long have you been working at the Chatwal Hotel?
Iran Chowdhury: Five years now. I used to work in room service and now I’m a chauffeur; I drive the house cars.

Have you ever driven any Broadway stars?
IC: I have. I drove Bryan Cranston around; he was very nice. He was a real gentleman.
Ali Abde [joining him]: You get to see and meet a lot of people doing this job, a lot of characters as well. I love talking to people so it’s perfect for me.

Where are you from?
IC: I’m from Bangladesh. I’ve been in New York about seven years but I came to the U.S. when I was seven-years-old.
AA: I was born in Chennai in India but raised over here. I came to the U.S. when I was five-years-old so I don’t remember much of India. I wouldn’t live anywhere else besides New York now; there’s no city like it.
IC: I’ve been to a lot of cities and I love the vibe of New York City. I like the crazy, city life.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen on this street?
IC: Just today a truck came out of nowhere, hit a bike parked in the bike lane and just kept driving. You always see crazy things on this block.
AA: One time there was a fight among the doormen. All the doormen from the hotels on this street just started fighting with one taxi driver. That was crazy.

Where are the best spots in New York to try Bangladeshi or Indian cuisine?
IC: In Jackson Heights, Queens.
AA: My parents usually cook the best South Indian food so I don’t have to go anywhere to find it, but Saravana Bhavan is just around the corner and it serves up great dosas and food to share.

You’re just across the street from the theatre – how would describe the atmosphere after a show?
IC: The street gets really packed.
AA: We always watch the crowds of fans waiting for the actors to come out by the stage door, even if it’s raining, they want their signatures.

Do you go to the theatre often?
AA: I went to see Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch; that was really good.
IC: Sometimes. I don’t have a whole lot of time but I try to go.

What do you love to do in your spare time?
IC: I like to go out with my friends and watch movies, or go visit new places. I really like traveling. This past spring break I went to Mexico and that was awesome.
AA: Sleep.
IC: Really Ali?
AA: It's my favorite thing to do!

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