NEW YORK (AP) — Many stores in New York were closed on Saturday as Hurricane Irene neared, with some posting signs like "Blame the weatherman. Not us." But New York's shopping districts still were bustling as people piled into any store that was open.
Merci Market in Chelsea had long lines as people bought deli sandwiches. People filed into The Container Store in Midtown to grab plastic boxes so they could use their indoor time constructively to organize. Parents crowded the Toys 'R' Us in Times Square to snag toys and games so their children won't get bored.
The hurricane comes in the thick of the critical back-to-school shopping season, typically the second biggest shopping period of the year. It's estimated that Irene will stop 80 million shoppers from hitting the malls this weekend.