Selling 'Bird Burgers'
Eric Adam Stahlman's parents often had exchange students from South America living at their home in Patchogue, on Long Island. Eric and his buddy Gary were fascinated and decided they would marry South American women. Eric did. Blanca is from Ecuador. They were married eight years and had two children, Allison, 7, and Jacob, 4.
Mr. Stahlman, 43, worked hard: out of the house by 6 a.m. to get to jobs in banking, and eventually, money trading at Cantor Fitzgerald. But one interlude stands out for his big sister Kathy: for a few months when he was out of a job that called for a suit and tie, he helped her sell "bird burgers" from a pushcart in Manhattan. Occasionally he promoted the business in a chicken costume, learning the ways of the pushcart business, from not taking a competitor's spot to feeding the homeless quickly so they would not drive other customers away.
He loved the city, glorying in new restaurants, the Yankees, the Giants and the Islanders, and his friends. His lifelong buddy, Gary Meo, said "You always had to fight him for a dinner check or a bar bill or a greens fee."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 1, 2001.