I live in an urban area within New Jersey in the New York City Greater Metropolitan Area. My city has a majority black population, but there are ever-increasing numbers of Latinos living here and opening businesses. There's also a decent representation from a multitude of countries. A few miles away is Edison, New Jersey, also nicknamed Little India. This is an area where immigrants are the norm.
My walk to the train station for my work commute was a bit different this morning. I walked past Mi Ranchito, a restaurant whose parking lot is usually full to capacity with vehicles and nearly a hundred men heading off to their jobs in lawn care, carpentry, painting, construction and more. The shutters were down. All was quiet. Few cars were even on the street. The laborers who usually wait on their steps and exchange greetings with me each day were nowhere to be seen. The man who tries out a new phrase in English daily to me wasn't there waiting for the bus to New York as I passed. The Laundromat whose owner is so prompt that you could set your watch by her arrival to work was still darkened. It was almost eerie.
I kept walking only to discover, not all that surprisingly, that the Mexican bakery where I often stop for a croissant was shuttered. I went to the Greek immigrant-owned donut shop. That was open. She told me that they couldn't afford to take a day off with the bills they must pay. She's a legal immigrant; her husband and she worked for years to buy their business and it's still a daily struggle to stay profitable. Oh, and she told me she loves being in America.
The photo in this article was taken in Plainfield, New Jersey, this afternoon as I walked home from my commute. The shuttered businesses are prevalent throughout the town. The gentleman from India who runs a corner store I stop by told me that other business owners wanted him to shut down. But, like the donut shop, he couldn't afford to do so. The Italian, Egyptian, Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants all seem to be open, as are the two large Latino-owned supermarkets in town. The Jamaican convenience store is open, as is the Royal Fried Chicken franchise run by Latinos. It's a mix, it seems. Probably the closing which affects the citizens the most here is that all three taxi companies in the city are shut down for the day. Although I heard rumors of some school districts closing down, I couldn't confirm those.