UPPER WEST SIDE — Upper West Siders preparing for Winter Storm Nemo lined up on the snow-filled streets for a chance to stock up on food from the neighborhood's popular grocery stores, Trader Joe's, Fairway, and Citerella, among others.
By 10 a.m., a line looping around the corner of 72nd Street had formed in front of Trader Joe's on Broadway as Upper West Siders lined up to amass frozen favorites, staples and treats.
Shoppers had to wait to enter the store in groups of eight every five minutes — and staffers encouraged them to shop on the lower level where it was less crowded.
Nick Volkert, 26, said he was shocked to discover the line when he arrived at the store.
"I heard that transport might be down so I thought I'd stock up on frozen Indian food," he said, adding that he didn't expect to be snowed in for more than a couple of days.
"I'm kind of excited. I'm hopefully going to go romp in Central Park," said Volkert, as he moved forward in the line.
Karen Bravin bought special treats for her kids, including chocolate covered pretzels, but she said she was counting on being able to continue to shop at the deli across the street.
"It never closes," she said. Her main concern was keeping her kids entertained.
Trader Joe's plans to stay open until 10 p.m. tonight and open tomorrow at 8 a.m., depending on weather conditions.
Maureen Wycisk said she wasn't too worried about the storm as she grew up in Minnesota, but nevertheless she headed in to Fairway Friday morning, joining a rapidly growing crowd. By mid-morning a line hadn't yet formed, but the aisles were getting tight.
"I'm getting a rotisserie chicken and a shepherd's pie — food to keep you warm," said Wycisk.
Rick Garcia, the general manager at Fairway on 74th and Broadway, said Fairway was planning on staying open until 1 a.m. and open Saturday at 6 a.m., pending storm conditions.
He said the store had "tripled [its] grocery order so we are ready for Sunday as well," and added that staff members and increased the eggs, bakery, milk order by 50 percent to prepare for shoppers.
Mas Galcia, a fruit vendor between 72nd and 73rd, had strung together tarps and umbrellas to cover his wares and planned on staying out through the worst of the storm.
"I got to finish what's here. That's why I'm here," he said, gesturing to his piles of fresh fruit.
Adequate winter clothing was also a concern among neighbors.
Tia, the manager of the local North Face store, said she had customers waiting outside for her store to open Friday morning. Most of the winter inventory is on sale for 50 percent off.
"We're expecting more people today," she said.
Daniel Allentuck, 62, said he was proud of his outerwear. He'd purchased "Ice Breaker" merino wool layers from the local Eastern Mountain Sports store.
"I have several wool layers. I have the outer layer — a Gore-Tex from Patagonia," he said.
"I've given it a lot of thought, because I'm a native New Yorker," he said, adding that though he was prepared clothing-wise, "I think we're going to dodge a bullet [with the storm.]"
Bruce Stark, the owner of Beacon Paint and Hardware at Amsterdam Ave and 77th Street said he felt the exact opposite.
"My advice is be prepared. We remember the hurricane [Sandy], other blizzards — it's going to hit," he said.
Stark planned on selling a couple hundred bags of sidewalk salt, which he's selling for $24.99 for 50 lbs.
Parents looking to hit the park with their kids can buy one of their specialty sled rigs, a mixing bucket that the store will quickly drill holes in and add a rope, perfect for pulling kids through the streets, said Stark. The bucket is $15.99 and the rope is a nominal cost, he said.
Many people are also coming in for ice scrapers, shovels, flashlights and gloves, said Stark.