After coming to Croton-on-Hudson at 17, this Mexican native is now running Concepts of Landscape.
By Kathryn Walsh and Philip Garrity
Alberto Alvarez, Mexico
Alberto Alvarez, now of Croton-on-Hudson, left his home, at the age of 17, in Mexico to join his brother and father in Westchester. Today, he is running his own business, Concepts of Landscape, a far cry from his first job as a dishwasher at a Mount Vernon deli, where he didn’t know enough English to understand the question, “Are you hungry?” —so he didn’t eat all day. Although he now doesn’t have the language barrier, he still works as hard, “to support my family in Mexico, sometimes up to 14 hours, seven days a week.” He does it with the help of his immediate family. “My wife is always supporting me and giving comfort and my daughter makes me forget all of my difficulties.”
My Story: “I worked in a dry cleaners in Croton for 12 years. [Then there was a fire and] everything was gone. I had no way to make my living. It came to my mind to offer my services as a general helper to the customers of the cleaners. The people of the town of Croton-on-Hudson gave me great support. After doing many things, I started landscaping. I attend courses at the New York Botanical Garden at the end of the season and feed myself with knowledge and not just practice in the field.…When people come here and they go back home, they talk about people in the US as moneymakers; it’s not true. It’s like Disney World—you think it’s a magical place, but when you get there, it’s not actually magical. You have to work for it.
My childhood compared to my daughter’s: “It’s totally different. We didn’t have food to put on the table sometimes. For her, if she wants an apple, I can give her an apple. If she wants a toy, I can give her a toy.”