CHELSEA — A stretch of Seventh Avenue has transformed into what looks like a Hollywood movie shoot.
Days after news broke that actress Katie Holmes planned to divorce hubby Tom Cruise, the 252 Seventh Ave. address that houses the actress's apartment has largely gotten used to the dozens of reporters and paparazzi lurking outside of her Chelsea pad.
Police erected barricades on Monday to contain the media scrum, which has mostly settled outside of the building's main entrance, as well as a side entrance on West 25th Street. The press responded by setting up a makeshift camp with lawn chairs and umbrellas to keep cool in the sweltering heat.
"There's a little more traffic on the street because of the news trucks," said Todd, who lives on West 25th Street and declined to give his last name. "It was bad at first, but now it all feels kind of Hollywood."
Holmes has been staying at the New York apartment since the announcement of her divorce last week, and even more press began to converge on the address after police were called for a mysterious white SUV sitting outside.
On Tuesday, the long, often-boring stakeout was interrupted by an odd sight: an elderly woman set up a lawn chair on the sidewalk beside Holmes apartment and began yelling and vomiting.
Police officers tasked with keeping the press on the opposite side of the street rushed to her aid, and an ambulance picked her and her husband up.
"That's just messy," one reporter declared, while others snapped pictures on their camera phones.
Several local business owners have seen an uptick in sales since the crowds of reporters took hold.
"Yeah, there's been a lot of them," said an employee at Chelsea Gourmet, a deli across from Holmes' apartment, where reporters purchased cold drinks and bags of snacks. "I keep asking if she's come out yet. I don't think she has."
Matthew Lamarca, who runs nearby Italian restaurant Bella Napoli, took pity on the reporters earlier on Tuesday and sent over a free cheese pizza.
"They're nice guys, I know they're just doing their jobs," he said. "Plus, they've been buying a lot of stuff."
As if determined by divine providence, Whole Foods, which has a massive location on the ground floor of the building, had a glut of free samples around the store on Tuesday — free food which, according to one employee, the press took advantage of.
"I've seen a few reporters, I think," said the employee, who declined to give her name. "They have cameras, and they all take seconds or thirds."