NEW YORK CITY — Let the madness begin.
The greatest — and most frightening — shopping day of the year is upon us, promising crazy deals and discounts that will kick in long before sunrise.
While nearly every large store in the city will be offering some kind of Black Friday promotion, here are some of the best deals worth waking up early — and fighting the crowds — for.
Best Buy will open at midnight Friday with a slew of bargains, including a Toshiba 40" Class LCD 1080p HDTV on sale for $179 (save $240), a Toshiba Smart Wi-Fi Ready Blu-ray Player on sale for $39.99 (save $40), and a free $20 gift card with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 in Exclusive White for $179.99 (save $70).
For a full list of specials, click here.
In Downtown Brooklyn, some dedicated bargain-hunters began waiting in line as early as Wednesday night. By 3 p.m. on Thursday, the line of several dozen people stretched down the street, with people wrapped up in coats and blankets, and reclining on folding chairs.
Darrien Moore said he'd show up at 10 p.m. on Wednesday to buy the deeply discounted 40-inch TV. He'd made the occasional trip back to nearby home to warm up and eat.
In line, he read comic books.
"It takes a lot of will power," said Moore, 18, who said he was happy to wait in line to make his mother happy.
"My mom doesn't ask for too much," he said. "Thanksgiving is just another day."
A little farther back in line, Taniesha Todd, 35, and Kim Little, 48, had been waiting since 5 a.m. Thursday.
"They got the best deals going on right now," said Little, who had her heart set on a laptop and a Blu-ray player, and was bundled up in a hat, gloves and scarf that she bought at Old Navy.
Todd said she was doing her Christmas shopping — a TV, a home theater system and some other electronics — and planned to buy her mother a television. In return, her mother would drive by soon to drop off some hot food.
But as for a proper Thanksgiving meal?
"We'll eat on Friday," Todd said.
Targets across the city are set to open at 9 p.m. Thursday, with doorbuster deals on electronics, including the in-demand Xbox 360 4GB Kinect Holiday Bundle with Kinect Adventures & Disneyland, which has been marked down from $299.00 to $199.99. For the kids, a LEGO® Duplo Deluxe Train Set will be on sale for $74.99, down from $129.
Mom Shanique Geiger arrived with her two young daughters at the Downtown Brooklyn location at 9 a.m., with a 12-hour wait until the opening, Her 4- and 5-year-old girls wore matching purple snow pants and boots and their mother wore two puffy jackets.
"I'm ready," she said. "I'm actually a little over-warm right now."
Geiger said she was pining for a 50-inch TV, which she'd spotted while looking through online ads last week. To prepare for her 12-hour wait, she prepared her Thanksgiving meal Wednesday and plans to eat it late Thursday night.
"We've had this game plan mapped out since last week," she said. "You got to be in it to win it."
Nakea Augustine, 30, showed up about noon, also looking for a cheap TV. She said she'd waited in Black Friday lines before, but never on Thanksgiving.
"They've never opened on Thanksgiving day," she said. "Black Friday, Cyber Monday, now Black Thursday — this is crazy."
Toys 'R' Us opened at 11 a.m Thursday and will close at 6 p.m. — only to reopen two hours later at 8 p.m. for an all-night bargain-fest that will last until 11 p.m. Friday. The store is promising its "biggest Black Friday ever," including $150 off POWER WHEELS Barbie or Cadillac Escalade rechargeable ride-in cars (now $269.99), 50 percent off hundreds of toys including the Home Depot Trolley Workbench (now $19.99) and BRATZ Masquerade Dolls (now $9.99), and 40 percent off all LEGO products.
Beginning at 5 a.m. Friday, the store will offer "Bonus Doorbusters," including $200 off select chairs and $100 off select cribs. For the full catalog, click here.
In Times Square, crowds were already packing the Toys 'R' Us Thursday afternoon, leaving customers complaining about long lines.
Juan Molina and his wife, Kati, who came from Clifton, N.J., to see the Thanksgiving Day parade, said they stopped by for gifts for their kids at home, and vowed never to try post-Thanksgiving shopping again.
"It's hard. There are too many people," said Juan Molina, 38. "We waited two hours in line just to pay."
Bloomingdale's will offer its best deals from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, with 20 percent to 70 percent off its coveted fashions and accessories, including $25 off men's and women's cashmere sweaters, 25 percent off designer jeans, $50 off coats up to $499.999 and $100 off coats $500 or more.
There will also be huge savings on bedding, including goose down pillows, sheets and comforters. Click here for more details.
Macy's will be opening at midnight Friday. Save 20 percent off items across the store, including men's jeans, suits, and jackets, and women's dresses, sleepwear, scarves, knit tops and boots. Also save on cookwear, holiday decorations, jewelry and cosmetics. Click here for a $10 off coupon for any purchase of $25 or more, good from midnight through 1 p.m. Friday or Saturday.
JC Penney will open at 6 a.m. Friday, with deals including over 50 styles of boots from brands like Worthington and Arizona marked down to $25, a.n.a® Packable Puffer Coats on sale for $30 (down from $50) and Liz Claiborne and Alfred Dunner sweaters on sale for $15. For the full catalog, click here.
Ayelet Saperia, who is from Israel but temporarily living in Baltimore, said she and her husband were watching the parade when they saw the store was open.
"They have nice clothes," said Saperia, 23, as she looked the racks, which include some items marked down by as much as 60 percent through Sunday.
Albanerys Martinez, who came with her 4- and 6-year-old boys and her husband, said she hadn't planned to shop, but thought she'd look for something on sale for the kids.
"I want to buy something for the babies for Thanksgiving dinner," she said.
Others couldn't quite grasp the madness.
Claire McFarlane, who arrived today from Scotland, was gawking incredulously at the line outside Best Buy and said she didn't get the point.
Would she do it?
"No, absolutely not. It's crazy," she said. "I'd rather be at home with my feet up."