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May Harrington of the Grand Central Oyster Bar Remembers 35-Cent Bivalves and Andy Warhol

Mary Harrington, known to regulars as May, was a server at legendary chain restaurant Schraft’s when she received an invitation to work at the Oyster Bar in 1978. “I was kind of terrified,” Harrington says. “Those days it was crazy busy.” Harrington didn’t emigrate from Ireland to be a server; she planned to become a nurse. “Now here I am,” she says, “nursing oysters.” We asked her what has kept her on the job all these years, and she shucked open a small trove of salty stories.

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