Jackson Heights Coffee Shops Stay Open as Blizzard Brews

By Paul DeBenedetto on February 8, 2013 2:05pm 

JACKSON HEIGHTS — As New York prepared for the worst of Winter Storm Nemo Friday, coffee shops in Jackson Heights perked up — even anticipating some extra business during the frosty weekend.

Both Juju's Bagel Cafe and Espresso 77, two popular coffee shops off of 37th Avenue on 76th and 77th streets, respectively, shrugged off the idea of storm preparation.

At Espresso 77, owner Afzal Hossain, 37, even said that a photography event planned for Friday night would go ahead without a hitch.

"That's the panic of the New York media," Hossain said. "We didn't see the snow all year, so that's why people are worried."

During Hurricane Sandy, which left Jackson Heights largely untouched, Hossain said business at the coffee shop was booming, because many people took off from work.

He expects much the same this weekend, with New Yorkers braving the cold weather for a warm beverage.

"New York always has snow," Hossain said.

Elsewhere, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst residents dealt with the coming storm, and some of its immediate repercussions.

Riders on the 7 train, one of the main conduits for locals to get to the city, faced rush-hour delays Friday morning. Although the majority of the line runs outdoors, an MTA spokesman said the delays were not caused not by signal problems, but instead said commuters may have taken longer to board the train because of the slippery weather.

And late Thursday, Councilman Daniel Dromm announced that the Elmhurst Lunar New Year Festival, which was to feature the first-ever neighborhood Lunar New Year Parade, was postponed because of the snowstorm, which could bring more than a foot of snow to the city.

At Trade Fair on 37th Avenue and 75th Street, and across the street at the Met Supermarket, the aisles were packed as early as 9:30 a.m. with hurried customers looking to get in some last minute grocery shopping — just in case.

"I usually buy on Friday, but not this early," said Andrew Hillard, 72, who works as a security guard. "I came early because of the weather."

A few aisles over, retiree Rolf Fleischmann, 50, was also skeptical but cautious as he stocked up on soup in the event that his family got snowed in.

"I don't believe everything will be closed," Fleischmann said. "But err on the side of caution."

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