A native Tribecan comes home to roost

Rocky Sewell grew up on Reade Street, went to PS 234, Lab Middle, ElRo then U-Mich for women’s studies and has now circled back to where she started, landing again on Reade at age 21 as the general manager of Maxwell’s, in the old Spaghetti Western space between Church and Broadway. So yes, this is the story of a local kid done good – graduated early from college and already paying her own rent — which appears here as the anti-anecdote of the aimless, entitled millennial. And, it’s just a fun Tribeca story (and a comfort for those raising kids here that they may just turn out alright).

Rocky (nee Raquelle, but that name never stuck) was tending bar at Edward’s a few months ago when the owners of Maxwell’s spotted her and lured her away. She’s now the day manager, handling payroll, vendors, schedules, customers and parties. She didn’t get the Cheers reference when I mentioned it (“I know I’ve heard of it…”) but she could have written the elevator pitch. “This is an industry I really care about. It has the most hardworking people in the world, and the most fun people in the world. I love working with them.” It helps that she seems to really like her bosses. (Mike Casey — note the St. Patty’s Day bunting — is a retired firefighter at Ladder 1 on Duane and also owns Tavern 29 on Park Avenue; Alex Tortolani has a second Maxwell’s on 111th and Fifth. The two opened this location in 2011.) A little-known tidbit to connect her even more to the neighborhood: Rocky’s mother, Amy, was the writer and producer of “Mad Hot Ballroom,” shot at PS 150, and 5-year-old Rocky and her twin sister have a small cameo as they walk along the old loading docks on Duane between Greenwich and Hudson coming home from 234.

Rocky’s hours are 11 to 7 and I think she would like it if you said hello when you go in. She’s not going anywhere for a while. “This is my future for now,” she said. “New York is my home. I was never going to live anywhere else. It makes me calm.”

PS to N: Another taxpayer, and this one sold its development rights to the building next door, so it’s staying. Also: Greenwich Street Tavern.



  1. Nice! We have never been to Maxwell’s, but now we’ll make sure to stop in.

  2. Great to see the ‘passing of the baton’ to the next generation – and to have a local kid back on the block!!! Best of luck, Rocky – we’ll see you there.

  3. Nor have I but it is a double win: a former firefighter owns the joint and local gal Rocky helps run things! Now I have to give it a try!

  4. Congrats Rocky. It is great to see this lovely, smart, confident women handling a job that most 30 years old would find tough!!
    My husband and I will definitely stop by the restaurant.

  5. Congratulations Rocky!

  6. Amy! Rocky! I feel so homesick for Tribeca now. Congratulations from London…

  7. Go Rocky!! Your old buddies will be graduating soon and back in town! We Will definitely come by to see you! Xox

  8. Congratulations Rocky. This is amazing.
    I will definitely be stopping in to say hello, hopefully you remember me from your 234 days. Its been a long time.

  9. What a wonderful story!

  10. So very proud of our girl! Michael and I will for sure be stopping by to see her..xoxo