This story has been all over the NYC blogs this week and got more traction yesterday from the New York Times.
Shortly after New Year’s Day, Man Hyung Lee, 77, was nursing a coffee in his usual seat in a narrow booth at a McDonald’s in Flushing, Queens, when two police officers stepped into the fluorescent light of the restaurant. Mr. Lee said the officers had been called because he and his friends — a revolving group who shuffle into the McDonald’s on the corner of Parsons and Northern Boulevards on walkers, or with canes, in wheelchairs or with infirm steps, as early as 5 a.m. and often linger until well after dark — had, as they seem to do every day, long overstayed their welcome. “They ordered us out,” Mr. Lee said from his seat in the same McDonald’s booth a week after the incident, beneath a sign that said customers have 20 minutes to finish their food. (He had already been there two hours.) “So I left,” he said. “Then I walked around the block and came right back again.”
RELATED: Many, many years ago when I worked for AMC Theaters I was once assigned to a multiplex in a (now-demolished) derelict West Palm Beach mall that was locally famous for its battles against the hundreds of seniors that spent their days lounging on the mall’s benches and “stealing our air conditioning,” as one security guard said to me. The mall’s position was that the seniors were destroying its reputation among young shoppers “who actually buy things” and were scaring off new tenants. I responded by scheduling weekday 10am shows just for the seniors, which the mall did not appreciate.