Shoppers thronging the streets outside of Macy’s

Someone’s going bankrupt Friday—either you, because you scraped the bottom of your bank account taking advantage of sharply reduced prices, or the nation’s retail stores, because their discounts couldn’t reverse months of slumping sales.

Whatever happens in the final accounting, the crowds out shopping Friday in Manhattan were horrendous. 

Many stores opened at 5 a.m. to hordes of bargain-hungry shoppers pouncing on deals like Butler Library pigeons on bagel scraps, and the flagship Macy’s in Herald Square was no exception.

Photos and more after the jump.

 An aisle at Macy’s solidly blocked by Black Friday shoppers

Bwog spent more than three hours wading through the sea of people flooding the famous department store’s nine retail floors. Based on the variety of accents overheard, many customers seemed to be European tourists taking advantage of the weak dollar, but most were simply testy New Yorkers. Wait-times at registers could be upward of half an hour while Bwog counted more than 100 shoppers in a line for the men’s bathroom.

A demolished shirt display in the men’s department

The deals—the reason for the season—were uneven at best. Some “doorbuster” items were true steals, but many supposedly marked-down items were not much cheaper than what Bwog has found online in the past. (And that, of course, presumes you could find the item in your size: everyone in New York wears either medium or small, it seems.)

If you didn’t get out to your local mall Friday or couldn’t find what you wanted, you have the start of next week to look forward to. “Cyber Monday,” the first business day following Black Friday, starts the holiday shopping season online with a few sales and much hoopla. Bwog recommends you check out the forums at and over the weekend to see what good deals other Web shoppers are finding.



The crowded elevators were almost as unpleasant as those at Lerner