PROJECTS

WHISPERS RESTAURANT & BAR

210 W 94th St, New York, NY 10025

Owner Carlos Vega at Whispers

Owner Carlos Vega at Whispers

When I first moved into my Upper West Side apartment, truth be told I thought Whispers was a gentleman’s club. I even joked about it with my wife. But at some point, I walked in and found my favorite bar in New York City.

Why do I love Whispers? Everything starts with the owner Carlos Vega. He sets the tone by making everyone feel welcome. I’ve spent countless nights in Whispers singing karaoke shoulder-to-shoulder with people from every ethnicity and background imaginable. And here’s the thing—everyone gets along. And that’s not always the norm these days.

Of course, Carlos’ chicken wings are to die for, but there are other places with great wings. That’s okay, because Whispers does have something that no one else in Manhattan or the world can offer—the chance to karaoke with Taylor Swift. Well, not the real Taylor Swift, but hear me out. For five years there’s been a glitch in Whispers’ karaoke machine resulting in a situation where 85 percent of the song requests will display the words over Taylor Swift’s “Our Song” music video. You haven’t lived until you’ve sung the words to a Tupac, heavy metal or Journey song as they float over a video of 2006 Taylor Swift painting her toenails, lying in a bed of roses, and playing a glitter guitar. They say weighted blankets help anxiety; singing nearly any karaoke song in the book and having Ms. Taylor Alison Swift continue to put another coat of paint on those toenails is even better.

The iconic Taylor Swift karaoke glitch in action

The iconic Taylor Swift karaoke glitch in action

The fact that Whispers is one block from my apartment means I’ve spent enough time there to think I’d left my laptop bag there (I hadn’t), introduce nearly everyone I know to Carlos and wonderful bartender Jessie, and give one person the Heimlich. True story.

So, when Carlos reached out to me to say Whispers was looking for help, needless to say it got my attention. It makes my stomach turn when I imagine that metal garage door closing on Whispers—never to open again. But here’s the deal: Whispers needs some financial help. They’re a bit behind on payments and need to catch up by the end of February to remain in good standing with the bank. But UW$ didn’t decide to pick Whispers as our first adopted business because they need help. We picked them because they’re precisely the sort of business we want to help.

UW$ was created to protect personality on the Upper West Side of New York. And let me tell you, Whispers Restaurant & Bar has plenty of it. From the posters on the ceiling, the Latin infused menu, the water feature Carlos recently installed, to the Puerto Rican flag edged into the TouchTunes machine, Whispers is one of a kind.