Traffic--and business--was surprisingly light in the vicinity of the Orange County Performing Arts Center on opening night.
The traffic “was much lighter than usual” for a weekday evening, Costa Mesa Police Officer Dale Birney said. “I was surprised.”
Posted on Anton Boulevard, fellow Officer Scott Heger had little more to do than set up a couple of barricades and direct limousine drivers to the parking area set aside for them.
“They told everybody, ‘Come early.’ And I think everybody got the message,” Heger said.
Nearby restaurants had braced for a crush of customers. Some, like Alfredo’s at the Westin South Coast Plaza, began serving dinner earlier than usual and planned to stay open late.
But business was slow Monday night, perhaps because of the elaborate buffet that was to follow the first performance at the Center, speculated Angelo Capello, the maitre d’ at Alfredo’s.
Among the businesses that did benefit from the Center’s opening were formal-wear stores and limousine services.
“We had a big rush last week,” said Deanna Morris, a clerk at Sears’ tuxedo shop. The store rented twice as many tuxedos as it would in a normal week, she said.
“We’ve been sold out for a long time,” said Terry Henry, general manager of Newport Limousine Service. His company served 30 customers Monday night.