NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Christmas means a day off for the vast majority of working Americans, but by one estimate up to 4% still work the holiday.
From first responders to street vendors, many are on the clock this Christmas Day, reports CBS2’s Charlie Cooper.
In the city that never sleeps, Christmas day is no exception.
“Family? Bed? No such thing as that,” said Paul Young. “Bed? You got to work every day, every day. No days off. This is New York.”
All across the city, CBS2 found bus and cab drivers taking people from one place to the next. Sanitation workers and food cart attendants also clocked in and were open for business.
“Christmas you continue selling,” said vendor Pedro Delgadillo.
With minimal competition from other vendors, some said being out in the cold is worth the few hours away from family.
“Nobody’s out so all the money’s going to come to me today,” said Caran Menardy.
“The tourists still come back to the market and when they find the market is closed they come back to me so that’s why I’m making good money today,” said Delgadillo.
Vendors said even though many Midtown offices are closed this week, sales get a boost from all the tourists and visitors spending Christmas in New York.
While government offices, schools and banks are closed on Christmas, private employers aren’t legally required to give employees the day off or premium pay for working.
“We’re working for somebody, so you got to do whatever they tell you to do,” said Ali. “They didn’t have time to shop yesterday, probably they were busy working, so they came in early today.”
For Ali, that means being on his hands and knees helping customers find last-minute holiday gifts.
First responders were on the clock serving the community and ensuring these working men and women make it home to their loved ones safely.
“That’s number one, the family,” said Delgadillo. “I’ll go home and we’re going to eat leftovers from last night.”
“Kids, they opened gifts and played around, had fun and hopefully when I finish working today, I’ll go home and we can finish,” said Ali.
Some rest will be on that list of things to do as well.