Shoppers braved bitter temperatures to head to the stores Thursday evening, with dozens waiting in line to score deals throughout the borough.
At the Sky View Center, shoppers waited in a long line in front of Best Buy that snaked around the parking lot Thanksgiving night.
“Last year was not as organized as this year. The security situation was no good, but this year they have done good preparation,” said Hayat Masudi, who was waiting with his son to buy a Play Station 4 and cell phones for his electronics store. Masudi waited in line for two hours last year and said he was prepared to devote four hours to Black Friday this time around.
Most shoppers said they were going to spend more or the same as last year on holiday shopping. “Last year the budget was low, and this year it’s good, so we’re going to take that budget from last year and triple it,” Masudi said.
Outside of the Old Navy, a crowd gathered as the store was about to open. Elizabeth Victorino, who was near the front of the line, said she was there to pick up clothes for her daughter. “I’m waiting for the savings. It’s 50 percent off, which is a really good price. I’m also looking for small gifts. ... So they are less, it could be a good saving for buying for Christmas.”
Bundled customers queued outside Queens Center in Elmhurst before the mall let customers inside at 7 p.m. Several of the shopping center’s stores opened up at 8 p.m.
The next morning, Gail Barnes, the manager of Perfumania was busy working her 17th straight hour. “My makeup has fallen on to the floor, let me tell you,” she said. Barnes observed that many retailers were happy with the turnout, saying, “a good start is extremely important because we lost six shopping days. We have to be on our game this year.”
At The Body Shop, manager Jeanine Hayes noticed a bigger crowd of shoppers this year.
“Traffic has been much better than last year because of Hurricane Sandy,” Hayes said. “This mall reaches Brooklyn and the Rockaways so no one was shopping last year, they’re starting to comeback and that’s good to see,”
Farida Yasmin made the trip from Brooklyn and was resting on a bench surrounded with her purchases.
“It’s all baby stuff,” said Yasmin, who gave birth to a boy three months ago. “He’s with my mom,” she said, “I knew on Black Friday they’d have good sales on baby stuff.”
Jeff Mendes made the trip from Williamsburg to purchase clothing at Ecko Unltd.
“I’ve been coming here for years because I was raised in Flushing and have family here,” he said. “I think the sales are better this year and I got here early this morning to avoid the big crowds and so far it’s been great.”
Kenneth Smith was weighed down with a bag of toys for his three children and a Disney Princess bike on his shoulder as he crossed side streets around Queens Center around 11 a.m.
He anticipated shelling out more money this year than last year for the holidays.
“I’m definitely going to spend more, but not today,” he laughed.
At the P.C. Richard & Sons in College Point, store manager Gabriel Masciangelo said there was one item that seemed to be on every shopper’s list this year.
“TVs, TVs and TVs,” he said as employees picked thin, rectangular boxes off piles stacked chest-high and wheeled them out to customers’ cars.
Next door, Tim Kiley was carting out the 40-inch Magnavox flat-screen he purchased for a family member at Target.
“I just got a couple of things today,” said the Whitestone resident, who was looking to spend about as much money on presents as he did last year in the weeks leading up to Christmas. “I don’t really like to deal with all those crazy crowds.”
By mid-morning Friday, the crowds at Rego Park Center were subdued.
Kathy Erskine, who was browsing the housewares section of Sears for gifts, said she started shopping that morning to avoid the overnight rush.
“I usually shop the weekend after Thanksgiving because there are sales,” she said. “But I don’t go at midnight or anything. I’m not that serious of a shopper.”
©2013 Community News Group
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