Kale Alfageh keeps The Coffee Place food truck open to serve some of his regulars as they brave Winter Storm Juno and grab a late lunch. Photo Credit: Raz Robinson
Monday afternoon, when most have been urged to stay indoors, some of Lower Manhattan’s food truck operators are braving Winter Storm Juno and going to work anyway.
Kale Alfageh cupped his hands together, pressed them firmly against his lips, breathed deeply and muttered, “I hate this, I hate the snow.”
Alfageh, 48, has been operating The Coffee Place breakfast food truck on the corner of Mercer and Washington Street for six months now. He noted his distrust of weather reporting as his primary reason for setting up shop.
“Cause you know sometimes they say it’s going to be something and it ends up being something else,” said Alfageh. “ Last year they said there was going to be too much snow to go out and I didn’t work. The weather was actually really nice that day and I lost a lot of money. This happened three or four times so now I always go.”
Mia Alumghed, 50, who works out of the Halal food truck on the corner of Astor Place and Broadway, expressed a tone similar to Alfageh’s.
“Business on days like this is always terrible,” says Alumghed. “But it’s not really worth not going.”
“I’ve seen it all,” said Alumghed, who has worked out of his truck for five years now. “The weather has been worse, but the regulars still come.”
Despite the steady flow of steam rolling out the window of his truck the storm had Alfageh pining for the warmth of his home country. “I’m from Egypt and it never, never, never snows in Egypt,” he said. “Egypt has the best weather in all the world”.
Although Alfageh was thinking of Egypt, some of his regulars were thrilled to see him coming out to open up shop despite the bad weather.
“I really am thankful,” says Jessica Thomas of Queens. “The guys are always so nice and friendly no matter what the weather is. Whether it’s raining, or snowing, or a hundred degrees outside”.
Thomas, who works as an administrator in New York University’s psychology department, was happy that as everyone was heading inside there was still somewhere to grab a snack.
“They’re so close to the office,” she said as she pointed to the building she works in. “and I almost never see them packing it up.”
As the wind picked up, the snow began to stick to the ground. Alfageh looked out the window of his truck and said, “I plan to leave at 5, but we’ll have to see how the weather looks before I go anywhere.”
Shallen Ferreira, 27 was stocking up on groceries at Morton Williams in Greenwich Village Monday morning, before the worst of the snowstorm hit the city. Photo by Joanna Bouras
Residents were bundling up and stocking up this morning to prepare for what New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted will be the worst snowstorm in the city’s history. With a high chance of power outages, halted traffic, and over two feet of snow predicted, it was mayhem at the markets.
Morton Williams grocery store in Greenwich Village, was filled with anxious shoppers trying to stock up with flurries already coming down. Lines wrapped around the perimeter of the store as customers scrambled to grab what was left.
“I’m scared and the fact that everyone else is so scared just makes it more terrifying,” said new Soho resident Shallen Ferreira, 27, who moved to the city two weeks ago from Mexico with her husband.
She heard that most stores were closing between noon and 2 p.m. and didn’t want to be stuck home without food. She said the store was already falling behind demand and that she was having trouble finding items as simple as deli meats.
“The first thing I grabbed was water and Dr. Pepper,” she said. “I have Dr. Pepper first thing in the morning, it’s my coffee.”
Having grown up in St. Louis, Mo., Ferreira is no stranger to snow, but not the up to two feet forecasters are predicting.
Losing electricity was the least of her worries.
“We had a few outlets out so I left the electrician, a complete stranger, at my house with my cat who attacks people,” said Ferreira,as she placed packaged meats in her cart. “I hope I don’t go home to see he robbed me blind.”
With minimal taxis and cars on the roads, Ferreira is worried about how her husband will get home from work later tonight. It is mostly delivery trucks and snow removal vehicles.
“We didn’t use the subways in Mexico, they were considered dangerous, she said. “But it’s hard to keep spending $30 on a taxi each day, and today you can barely find one.”
Although Ferreira is not a fan of the snow she told her husband that if they can get the door to open she would build a snowman on their terrace.