Arriving in New York City, he supported himself with odd jobs such as busing tables in restaurants and gardening. Valentino once worked as a bus boy at Murray's on 42nd Street and was well liked, but didn't do a good job and was fired. While he was living on the streets, Valentino would occasionally come back to Murray's for lunch and the staff would slip him some food. Around 1914, Restaurateur Joe Pani who owned Castles-by-the-Sea, the Colony, and the Woodmansten Inn was the first to hire Rudolph to dance the tango with Joan Sawyer for $50 per week. Eventually, he found work as a taxi dancer at Maxim's Restaurant-Cabaret. Among the other dancers at Maxim's were several displaced members of European nobility, for whom a premium demand existed.