Monday, May 31, 2010
It’s almost 11 o’clock on Memorial Day morning, and the intersection at Broad Street and Erie Avenue looks nearly deserted compared to its usual bustling state. Most of the surrounding business are closed for the holiday, save for chain restaurants like Church’s Chicken and Dunkin’ Donuts, along with just a handful of local shops.
But Hobart Snead has been sitting behind the counter of his small, sturdy newsstand since 6 a.m. Snead, who has been the owner of the stand for more than 20 years, is there seven days a week, beginning at 5 a.m. each weekday. On weekends and holidays, he says, he opens up at 6. The store owner says he used to take off holidays, but circumstances have changed in the last few years.
“The bills have to be paid,” he says.
Snead admits that business has been slow today, and that he’ll likely stay only an hour longer before heading home. When asked whether he’ll have time later to enjoy a day that many Americans spend grilling food with family and friends, Snead says there is more work waiting at home, like mowing his lawn.
But despite the long, early hours Snead spends at his newsstand, he says he loves Philadelphia. The Nicetown-Tioga native, who grew up just eight blocks from where his stand sits, says the city is the perfect size and offers just the right amount of people – not too many but not too few.
“Even if I won the lottery,” Snead says, “I wouldn’t move far.”
By Chelsea Calhoun and Sarah Shafer
Group 12: Allgheny/Tioga/Nicetown
Posted by Chelsea E. Calhoun at 11:33 PM