Shabbir Ahmed had worked as a waiter in his share of swank city restaurants since immigrating from Bangladesh in 1981, but Windows on the World was such a favorite that he stayed 11 years. His son Thanbir, 16, thinks it was because the management and customers treated him the same way he treated them: nicely and politely. Also, he was earning a salary that made his dream in life -- providing a college education for his three children -- a real option; his oldest daughter, 19, attends Brooklyn College.
Fishing excursions to Gerritsen Creek and Sheepshead Bay were his favorite getaways: they reminded him of his boyhood. While he preferred to let his wife, Jeba, and his children clean whatever trout, catfish or bluefish he caught, he did lend a hand with the grilling.
When Mr. Ahmed, 44, was not off fishing in his leisure hours, he was tending to the backyard vegetable garden in Marine Park, Brooklyn, a responsibility he traded with his brother on an annual basis. This summer it was his turn: chilies, squash, eggplant and tomatoes made up this year's crop, but not all of them flourished. It seems he was more vigilant pursuing fish than he was yanking weeds and spreading fertilizer.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 25, 2001.