Abdul Karimi spends much of his day now waiting for customers.
He has parked his breakfast cart at Lafayette and Duane streets for the last ten years, normally a prime spot, thanks to all the government buildings here.
But he says business is down at least forty percent since the partial federal shutdown.
“How do you pay your rent, how do you put food on the table for your family,” Karimi said. “It's hard when your customers work for the federal government and aren't getting paid."
Karimi has four children and is the only one in his home with a full-time job. He works from midnight to noon, five days a week.
But by late morning, he still has a lot of unsold pastries and can't use any of it the next day. He says it's like throwing money away.
The ripple effect this shutdown has on Karimi and others makes his customers sad and even angry. Many of them have been coming to him so long he knows their order before they say a word.
Nieka Burnett of Brooklyn says the shutdown puts many customers in a bind. “If you don’t have money to pay bills, how are you going to support the coffee man or the bagel shop? You can’t,” Burnett said. “You have to worry about you own family first.”
Karimi is thankful for his customers’ support. But he says he feels constant stress because he's always worrying about tomorrow. He says business seems to be worse each day and the bills are piling up.
Karimi says he doesn’t follow politics but he does think political leaders on both sides should understand real people are being directly affected, and wants them tostop their posturing and figure out a solution.