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Chelsea Residents Rush for Supplies and Bagels Before Hurricane Irene

By Mathew Katz | August 27, 2011 11:38am | Updated on August 27, 2011 11:40am
Customers trying to get a last-minute bagel and schmear before the storm at Murray's Bagels in Chelsea
Customers trying to get a last-minute bagel and schmear before the storm at Murray's Bagels in Chelsea
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — As parts of the neighborhood were evacuated Saturday and residents prepared their homes for Hurricane Irene, there was only one thing on Corey Kansworth's mind — bagels.

"I usually come on Sunday, but that's not going to happen tomorrow," said Corey Kansworth, 26, as she stood outside of Murray's Bagels on Eighth Avenue. "I just need my bagel fix at least once a weekend."

Kansworth was not alone. Both Murray's and nearby Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company at 286 Eighth Ave were packed with customers hoping to get one last bagel and schmear before the storm. Many in the area were trying to make what they could of their weekend routines before being cooped up in their apartments by Hurricane Irene.

A man behind the counter at Murray's said the swamped bagel shop said it would stay open "until it gets really bad outside."

Others, hoping to get their morning latte, were disappointed to find that their local Starbucks at 23rd Street and 8th Avenue was closed.

"I can't believe it," said Panjeet Mahraj, 27. "If [Starbucks] is going to close down, it's got to be really bad. These things are an institution."

Many street trash cans had been turned upside-down in the neighborhood, presumably to stop them from filling up with garbage that could become projectiles in a storm.

Newspaper boxes had been tied to nearby lampposts with duct tape and twine to stop them from flying away.

Much of Chelsea falls within Evacuation Zones B and C, though many residents weren't worried about flooding. A section of the neighborhood in the low-lying areas west of 10th Avenue fall within the area under mandatory evacuation.

"I haven't decided if I'm leaving or not," said Lowell Kern, 47, who had pulled a car up infront of his condo building at 520 W. 23rd St. "This city doesn't stop for anything, why would it stop for a hurricane?"

Still, many in the building were loading up and getting ready to go. Some had taped up their windows in the hopes that it would prevent them from breaking.

Kern said if he does leave, he would head to his parents' house on Long Island. The Zhang family, loading up a minivan bound for Conneticut on West 24th Street, said they were trying to get as many of their valuable possessions out of the city as possible.

The High Line park was closed to visitors, though there were no tourists in site to be disappointed. Many art galleries in that area packed up their paintings and moved to higher ground yesterday.

Few had moved into the city's evacuation shelter for the neighborhood, at Park West High School on 50th Street. By midmorning, 23 people had checked into the center, a volunteer said.

While some in Chelsea were just hoping to get some fun and food in before the rain starts, and others decided whether or not to evacuate, Jess Gaitan, 45, was out walking his bulldogs Gordon Gekko and Mr. Peabody.

"I'm getting everything done early," he said. "They won't be able to go out once the storm starts."

He was on the lookout for their pet food, which his local pet store, Petland, had run out of.

"I'm also going to try to wrap up some of my friend's furniture, he's out of town," Gaitan said.

"But his place is kind of in need of a renovation, so if I don't make it, I may be doing him a favor."