Across the street from Hofstra's campus, removed from the bustling with excitement atmosphere, business owners said the debate and the increased security was a revenue killer.
Hersh Kalsariya, manager of a Dunkin' Donuts on Hempstead Turnpike, described business as "very slow."
He had increased staffing to six workers in anticipation of an uptick in customers, but by early afternoon sent two of them home.
"Nobody's coming," he said.
At a nearby convenience store, John Patel, had a split verdict on the debate being held across the street.
"They closed all the traffic," he said. "We're not going to get any business today. There's so much security, people are afraid to walk by."
But, Patel said, he's excited to be close to such a historic event -- one that he planned to watch on TV tonight from his Queens home.
"One side -- it's excited," said Patel, who described himself as an undecided Democrat. "But the other side, it's hard for business. I'm paying very expensive rent, $300 a day."
Some enterprising businessmen were determined to make a buck.
Calvin Powell, 86, of Baldwin, planned to sell President Obama pins, T-shirts and posters on the side of the road for between $2 and $10 a pop.
An admitted Obama supporter, Powell said he tried to find Mitt Romney merchandise to sell while shopping in Manhattan, but he was unlucky.
"I think New York is basically an Obama state," he said. "basically. People aren't making something you can't sell. He's got New York sewed up."
Above: Calvin Powell, 86, of Baldwin, plans to sell Barack Obama trinkets outside the Hofstra debate. (Oct. 16, 2012)