A curse for most is always a boon for a few: Park Slope shops, cafes and bars did excellent business yesterday with so much of the neighborhood bucking work rather than facing a hellish commute. We entereda coffee shop on Fifth, to order a mug of hot cider. Out of cider, said the barista. No chai either. “No one went to work today,” she explained. So you had a lot of customers? She gestured to the tables and chairs. “There was no place to sit.”
Well, that’s fantastic for you guys, we replied. “For my boss, yeah,” remarked the barrista, who informed that trudged one hour and 45 minutes to get to work today from East New York, despite being pregnant. Her commute, once she hailed a car, was over two hours.
The woman who rung us up at Beacon’s Closet actually regretted her decision to take a car, claiming that with Flatbush so unusually congested, it took about as much time from Clinton Hill in a car as it did on foot. The store did see an impressive amount of customers, however, as did designer co-op Eidolon. A nearby card shop was still ringing up customers in their packed store, even though they had been scheduled to close almost 20 minutes earlier.
We ambled into Great Lakes, crammed front to back with drinkers ready to share commuting horror stories. “Prospect Park West was completely paralyzed between 11 and 12,” said one resident, who had the blessed advantage of owning a car. Some of his friends were not so lucky, just returning from a Lord & Taylor photo shoot out on Shelter Island. “I had to work out the logistics of getting 14 people back in the city,” complained the creative operations manager for the shoot. “When I walk two-and-a-half hours to get to work tomorrow, I actually have to work in the store, because half the people aren’t going to show up. I just produced a $100,0000 photo shoot, and tomorrow I have to say, ” ‘Can I wrap that in tissue for you?’ ”
“I blame the MTA,” said Kirk Davis, a filmmaker. “They have that billion dollar surplus, and they passed their budget to spend it all up . . . It’s part of the city, but not run by the city?”
On our way out we flagged down Great Lakes’ single bartender, just back from surveying the evening’s revenue in the register. “I was just thinking to myself,” she reflected, “MTA’s loss is my gain.”