While Hurricane Sandy was picking up speed, Morningside Heights residents lined up for shots of caffeine at Oren’s Daily Roast. The local coffee shop, at 112th Street and Broadway, remained open on Monday, Oct. 29, despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement on the severity of the storm.
“I’m coming out to get my caffeine fix. I don’t know what I’m going to do without my caffeine!” said Don Hayne, who lives on Riverside Drive. For Hayne, the wind and rain weren’t strong enough to keep him from dashing in to grab a steaming cup of latte. Just like him, dozens strode in for a cuppa. Lines were long and winding, as brews and conversations crowded the small space, lined with jars of exotic coffee beans.
Autumn leaves streaked through the air, while morning joggers and dog-walkers braved gusts of wind and rain — all signs of Sandy, soon to come. Raincoats ruffled through the air and umbrellas hung upon arms, all precautionary tales ahead of the hurricane. Some made quick visits down the street, stocking up on supplies.
“I think it’s just going to be a lot of rain and flooding,” said Samantha, a student at Columbia University who declined to give her last name. “I’m not scared for my safety. ” Clad in a beige coat and a to-go cup in her hand, she popped in for what she feared would be her last dose of caffeine for a while.
At one point, the line even extended beyond the entrance of the coffee shop. College students, parents and their excited children made up the crowd as muffins and cookies raced off the shelves.
“It was definitely an opportunistic idea to be open, because everything else is closed,” said Selina Orich, a barista. Orich was one of four people manning the counter for the day. According to her, the store remained open since there were enough people who lived close by, including herself. She said the business ran its regular profit, despite the given conditions outside.
Oren’s kept its shutters open till 5 p.m., while a Starbucks on the opposite street shut at 4 p.m. A sign on its door read: “Blame the weatherman. Not us.” Both Oren’s and Starbucks will be closed tomorrow, despite braving the storm today.
The early closures may upset some customers, but, Orich said, “I think that’s a little inconsiderate of the fact that there are people who have to, like, get here to be here, and be risking their lives in a hurricane.”