Tax day circus
Wackiness outside Farley on tax day. (Photos by Jefferson Siegel)
The Farley Post Office was a bit of a circus Tuesday morning, though the thousands of last-minute filers that strolled through the door were not the only ones to blame.
A dozen folks dressed as Uncle Sam handed out pretzel snacks, an Ann Coulter impersonator helped launch a parody of the Wall Street Journal and several women promoting Coors Beer cheered on weary procrastinators as they trudged up the post office stairs. For the first time since renovation of the post office faÃ§ade hampered the hoopla tax day draws, the area in front of the citys 24-hour post office was again a wide-open stage for protesters and vendors who bank on tax day crowds.
No one likes to pay taxes, but everyone has to do it, said Hilari Graff, who was passing out joke goodie bags filled with tissues and stress relievers from the New Yorker Hotel. Were adding some fun and lightness to everyone paying taxes.
More vendors than protestors showed up yesterday morning, some noting that the hoopla was muted compared to years past. People at a Staples tent offering free copies of tax forms, the forms themselves and office supplies, said twice as many vendors showed up in years past.
Onlookers grabbing lunch on the post office stairs chuckled at some of the tax day antics while others were baffled by it.
I dont know what theyre doing, Amnel Arroyo, 32, said of the Coors Beers women holding signs and cheering as he and a coworker sunned and ate their lunch. It would be better if they gave out free beer.
Hendre Smith files his taxes.
Inside the post office, last-minute filers were largely oblivious to what was going on outdoors. The Post Office was on double duty with up to three times the number of windows normally open and six mobile units outside. About 60,000 transactions were expected at each of four automated machines inside compared to their monthly average of 35,000, spokespeople said.
The biggest crushes were expected after work and just before midnight. People yesterday consistently filed in to pick up tax formsextension paperwork was the most popularand filled out state and federal returns on tables near lengthy lines. Hendre Smith, 45, a messenger from East New York, was doing his taxes himself for the first time and had just cracked open a tax book on his lunch break.
Why did I wait until the last minute? Smith said. I just kept putting it off and finally the 15th came up on me. No excuses. Its my fault.
Some folks standing in line to mail their returns waxed philosophical about why they waited.
If you know youre going to get money back, it makes sense to do it early, said Sathya Vijayendran, 30, of Jackson Heights, who was filing business and personal forms. I owe, so why would I want to do it early?
-- Marlene Naanes