PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The coronavirus pandemic has led to a whole new way of doing business in one of our suburban neighborhoods.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan has more on one Long Island town’s “trading block.”
Forget paying in the usual way.
Trade some yeast for homemade pasta.
Exchange a tomato plant for a box of nails.
Then there are those who barter beer for a tutoring session. Just leave it on the porch and text when it’s ready.
Randy Shain is the mastermind behind Port Washington’s neighborhood network bartering ring.
“All of a sudden everyone realized, you know what? This is what a community is. If I have a lemon and you need sugar …,” Shain said.
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Parents of cooped-up teenagers contacted Shain, a counselor and coach for mentoring services when schools closed. Instead of charging a fee, he accepted whatever supplies they had on hand.
Betsy Liegey, the co-owner of Greenport Harbor Brewery, said the spirit of generosity is contagious.
“Bartering beer for mentoring, yes,” Liegey said.
Down the street, Diane Luger Moen’s blueberry cake became a hit, which she traded for grocery store runs.
“It was so nice to be able to reach out in this way to help collectively with each other,” Luger Moen said.
“I just dropped off a package for you. Look out your front door. Look on your porch,” Michelle Shain said.
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According to economists, the bartering of goods and services among neighbors is called “a coincidence of wants” — a wanting to avoid the store, but still hungry during a global pandemic.
Cheryl Mera, the president of American Barter Exchange, said the practice goes well beyond The Great Depression and now restaurant owners are trading food for, “printing, whether they need advertising, perhaps they need cleaning services.”
Until they can go into their restaurants again, Tracy Lefkowitz said she offered sangria and black beans for spicy nuts and homemade rolls.
“It really brings everyone together in a really amazing way,” Lefkowitz said. “And it’s always nice to give to give. I don’t need anything in return.”
“It’s kind of what it’s about, right? Yeah, you get to know each other,” Randy Shain said.
Neighbors meeting neighbors for the first time.