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Shoppers Swarm Stores for Last-Minute Grabs

By Kayla Epstein | December 22, 2013 1:11pm
 Last-minute shoppers stuffed shops in the city.
Panicking Shoppers Swarm Manhattan Sunday
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UPPER WEST SIDE — If procrastination is enough to land you on Santa’s "naughty" list, a lot of New Yorkers could be getting coal this year.

The last weekend before Christmas shoppers were still frantically searching across the Upper West Side for last-minute gifts for family, friends and colleagues.

Some, like Julie Aiyegbusi, who lives in the neighborhood, had only begun their holiday shopping.

"I’m starting today. It’s cumbersome," she said. Aiyegbusi predicted that she’d spend the rest of the day hunting for gifts for her family in The Bronx.

The Upper West Side's wide range of retail stores were not yet packed to the gills mid-morning, but business picked up as the day wore on everywhere, from discount titans Century 21 and Loehmann’s to high-end boutiques like Burberry and Rag & Bone.

Many stores had holiday sales, while others had extended hours to accommodate the influx of last-minute customers.

"We’ve definitely been more busy in the last two weeks,” said Dominic Vitale, manager of Kiehl’s on Columbus Avenue, which was open 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. in the run-up to Christmas Eve. Most of his customers were shopping for immediate family members, he said. “Yesterday was a big ‘mother-in-law’ day," he said.

Others have been a bit wiser.

Jim Riede, who works on the Upper West Side, got a head start on his Christmas shopping: "Three weeks ago," to be precise, he said. "I don’t like to shop, I like to know exactly what I’m going for.”

After Sunday, he’d be done.