With stockings hung from the liquor shelves with care, cops stopped in for (nonalcoholic) refreshments and bathroom breaks over the course of this historically long night on their calendar.
"They usually can't handle the mayhem," Gaylord said. "But I think they did a good job this year."
Indeed, most local businesses agree on both counts, with many commending the decision to shut down 11 blocks of South Street between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Sunday. Crowds totaling as many as 20,000 people had inundated the area in the evening's wee hours.
On the same weekend last year, five officers received minor injuries and 17 arrests were made as police tried to contain burgeoning crowds. In March of this year, at least four people were injured when an estimated 2,000 youths descended on South Street on the first night of spring.
"They did a great job this time - that's what they ultimately have to do," said Donna Sarkisian, owner of Jon's Bar and Grille on 3rd and South Streets. In past instances of crowd dispersals, according to Sarkisian, gatherers - many appearing underaged - had jumped the fence of the venue's patio and swiped alcohol from the outdoor bar.
Given recent history, Philadelphia Lt. Frank Vanore says, police prepared for larger-than-average crowds, calling in a mounted unit, as well as additional Philadelphia and State Police officers.
Attendees from the Philly Greek Weekend - or, in past years, the Greek Picnic - are rarely the problem, according to Vanore. Most incidents stem from the teenagers who decide to congregate in the area, as well.
"It just turns into something to do," Vanore said.
Many in the crowds dispersed to Broad Street after 1 a.m. without issue, he added, though fifteen arrests were made for offenses like disorderly conduct and underage drinking.
Some commercial operations on South Street continue to voice concerns about local security on busy summer weekends.
"It's mostly girls working in these stores," said Danielle Rosetti, manager of Unica Clothes. "South Street's just not safe for them anymore."
Bridget Foy, owner of - and, as a newborn 28 years back, namesake for - Bridget Foy's on Second and South Streets, takes a cab every night to her home six blocks away as a precaution.
Safety considerations may also hinder bottom lines in the area. Foy believes that while regulars who live nearby are unfazed by the episodes, those who frequent South Street as a travel destination may be deterred.
Hunter Bush, employee at Condom Kingdom, says the crowds represent a troubling population trade-off for businesses like his, which require identification: youths in, adults out. He also wishes the police had given word of their decision far earlier.
"I understand shutting the street down, especially when they've dropped the ball a couple times on flash mobs," Bush said. "But businesses should have been informed - we would have closed a half-hour sooner."
Lickety Split's Gaylord, still doesn't love the idea of shutting down an entire neighborhood, especially during the hours when spots like his "make most of [our] money."
Of course, the ex-detective has no regrets about foregoing a full Saturday night's worth of business on this occasion.
"If I donate it to the police," he said, "I figure my place will be safe."
Inquirer staff writer Allison Steele contributed to this article.
Contact staff writer Matt Flegenheimer at 215-854-5614 and firstname.lastname@example.org.