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Queens bargain hunters lined up early for Black Friday deals, with some shoppers spending their Thanksgiving waiting in front of stores to take advantage of the deep discounts.
The Best Buy in Flushing’s Sky View Center opened at 9 p.m. Thursday night, but some hardcore residents started waiting as early as 7:30 am Thanksgiving morning.
“All this wall was just chairs and blankets,” said one security guard who caught some of the madness.
By 8 p.m., an hour before stores opened the floodgates, there were about 500 people waiting in a line that wrapped all around the Sky View parking garage.
Edwin Yu, who was interviewed at the bank where he works Friday in Bay Terrace, arrived at Sky View around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, took one look at the crowd and left.
Best Buy Manager Ismael Matos said that televisions, e-readers and tablet computers were hot items this year.
Spiros Tsadilas, a shopper interviewed at Bay Terrace, tried a Best Buy in Long Island City, but had no luck when he arrived at 5 a.m.
“It was wild,” he said. “We just left.”
The store had opened the evening before and Tsadilas said many of the doorbuster items — which included a 42-inch LCD HDTV for $199 — were picked over.
“Everything was gone,” he said.
The NYPD was on hand at many large shopping centers throughout Queens to make sure the crowds made it into the store safely.
Officers metered out the group by granting access to small groups of people at a time. And many store managers said more people came out than last year.
“It looks like we’re ahead of last year’s business,” said Gabriel Masciangelo, manager at PC Richard & Son at the College Point Mall. “And the goal at the end of the day is to be better than last year.”
Masciangelo’s store was buzzing with activity.
Some shoppers paced among walls of televisions while on the phone with loved ones, relaying prices like stock traders. Others had catalogs open, jabbing their fingers at certain items as they chatted to the sales staff.
One man, who had the sluggish demeanor of a zombie as he slowly pushed a stroller past an aisle of cameras, had a concise assessment of Black Friday shopping.
“It sucks. That’s it,” he said.
But one woman, who identified herself only as Tersea, was well organized for the holiday, and emerged from the Target in College Point with a large bounty in her shopping cart.
“I compared prices at home online,” she said. She knew exactly what she needed and who offered the best prices.
She even enrolled in a program through her credit union so she could save money throughout the year for holiday shopping.
But she said that the tough economy has shrank her shopping list each year.
At smaller malls around the borough, sales were picking up in the afternoon after many shoppers bought their big-ticket items.
At Bay Terrace Mall, customers began trickling in after noon.
On Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica, business was lackluster.
Radio Active IV on Jamaica Avenue opened at 7:30 a.m. John Isaacs, the store’s part-owner, said it was “desolate.”
“Now it’s a little better,” he said around noon as Christmas music blasted from speakers inside the store.
The store had doorbuster sales, including $99 laptops, he said
Lloyd Greenspan, the owner’s brother, said it was unclear whether the store would meet its sales goal for the day.
“I’m not going to say it’s terrible, but I’m not going to say it’s great,” he said.
Reporter Howard Koplowitz contributed to this story.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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