by Pete Janny, Sports Editor & Managing Editors
The sense of camaraderie that pervades Locke’s Loft is a unique feature of Manhattan College. It’s where friendships flourish and conversations take on deeper meaning. It’s where meals are shared and relaxation takes over. In truth, at the backbone of Locke’s friendly environment are some of the most familiar faces on campus: the workers.
The positivity of the workers at Locke’s Loft is infectious. These workers embody the pride and resolve what it means to be a Jasper. During the dog days of the semester, these men and women help keep students in good spirits with their words of encouragement and playful humor.
Frequent visitors of Locke’s are probably well aware of who Kency Rivera is. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Rivera is a valued member of the staff. A social butterfly by nature, Rivera is always looking to converse with students whenever the opportunity presents itself. When he’s not cooking up some of his signature dishes, he’s most likely engaging in thoughtful conversations with others about sports and politics.
“All the students are nice people,” Rivera said. “And the students know me because I’m friendly.”
Rivera’s life is enriched by his elite cooking skills. In his 16 years at Manhattan College, he has prepared a wide array of meals. While the feedback for all of them are generally positive, there are few specific dishes in particular that students love. According to Rivera, his biggest hits are the lo mein, the chicken wings and the french toast with marshmallows and nutella.
“They like everything I make,” Rivera said. “I love seeing these people eating good.”
On the days he makes wings, Rivera gets a kick out of watching students devour them with urgency.
“Some will eat 20, even 25,” Rivera said. “I look at them and say to myself ‘these people are crazy.’”
At the pizza station, Bronx native Darrell Foskey can be found, probably chatting with students about mainstream topics.
“We mostly talk about pop culture and sports, preferably basketball,” Foskey said of his interactions with students.
Since his arrival six months ago, Foskey has become a popular man in Locke’s thanks to his aptitude for making good pizza. Foskey, often seen stretching the dough, generally receives excellent reviews for his pizza from students.
“Some people love [the pizza] and nobody doesn’t like it,” Foskey said.
Foskey, who seems to always have a smile affixed to his face, shared his secret for what makes his pizza so appetizing.
“You got to put a little sugar and garlic in the sauce,” Foskey said.
While on the job, Foskey feels a sense of belonging thanks to the atmosphere of the school. One instance in particular came to Foskey’s mind when reflecting on the politeness of Manhattan students.
“A player on the women’s basketball team gave me words of encouragement on the first day,” Foskey said. “The students are cool and they make me comfortable.”
According to both Rivera and Foskey, the most entertaining time of the year at Locke’s Loft is during the Halloween season. The costume choices of the students around Halloween never fail to catch their attention.
“There was a kid who once came in with pampers and a pacifier,” Rivera said when considering the funniest moments of his career at the college.
Foskey, referring to his love for basketball, said, “I liked seeing the throwback jerseys during Halloween.”
The goodwill between the students and Locke’s workers is a telling indicator of the special community that Manhattan College fosters. That seems to be the reason why after all these years of working at the college, Rivera still enjoys the experience of working here as if it were new to him.
“The community is great here,” Rivera said. “I’ve been working at colleges my whole life and [MC] is the place I have stayed at the longest. The students are always friendly. They are never disrespectful and they love to joke.”