Aug. 27, 2011 By Christian Murray
With the steady drumbeat of warnings from city officials about the severity of Hurricane Irene, locals heeded the call on Friday night and stocked up on food, water and emergency supplies. John Han, an owner of Met Food said, “This is the busiest night we have ever had,” with lines from the back of the store to the check out counters.
Home Depot at 50-10 Northern Blvd. was bustling all day Friday till its 11 p.m. closing. The store was out of size C and D batteries at 1 p.m., and by 3 p.m., the waterproof tarps were sold out. The Super Stop & Shop at 34-51 48th Street had shelves empty of bread and other staples, and weekly sales were called off, causing one shopper to complain of “price gouging.” (On Saturday, discounts were back.) With the entire mass transit system scheduled to be shut down at noon Saturday, Manhattan’s Battery Park City and parts of Nassau country evacuated, the mood was mixed.
Some were elated at the friendliness that often comes when many face a massive common concern, sharing new information and offering to help. Others were anxious or caught up in preparing for rain forecast to start before noon Saturday. “I have been out already four times today to get things, like candles, water and food,” said one man, a resident on 43rd Avenue, “I keep thinking of things I may need. Now, I am back out to get pet food and matches for the candles.”