Outside the U.S. Open, it's profit-taking the American way

Ed Marti, from Deerfield, Fla., stands at his ticket tent on Haverford Avenue in Ardmore. He's among those hoping to make money on the U.S. Open.
Ed Marti, from Deerfield, Fla., stands at his ticket tent on Haverford Avenue in Ardmore. He's among those hoping to make money on the U.S. Open. (ANDREW RENNEISEN / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 13, 2013

A block party just isn't the same when the U.S. Open is in the neighborhood.

Don't bother setting up a volleyball net or wheeling the old grill around to the front of the house - that could fritter away as much as $100 a day that can be earned from drivers wanting to park near the Merion Golf Club.

These are days not only of golfing glory, but also of ordinary people in scruffy shorts and wrinkled T-shirts making a buck off this 113th national golf championship.

It's not just the U.S. Open. It's the American way.

That's why some people rented their houses for big pay days. Mollye Readinger-Scott, of Ardmore, tried to rent her family's five-bedroom home on Ardmore Avenue.

"When the Realtor first talked to us in January 2012, the numbers being thrown around were like $35,000, $30,000 for a week to 10 days. That was going to include maid service, which was going to be me," she said. As time passed, the estimate of how much she might get dropped to $10,000.

"Then, it turned out to be nothing," she said, as no renters emerged.

Instead, like many nearby residents, she's charging for parking cars on her property.

"There are haves and there are have-nots," said Lou Vee, 46, who was parking cars Tuesday afternoon at the house he and his partner bought on Haverford Road, several blocks from the course. "The people who have-not, why shouldn't they get a break?"

The residents on either side of Vee also were hawking their yards for parking, he said, as is J.P. Monaghan, who lives across the street.

They all have gotten to know one another a bit better since the practice rounds began Monday, with neighbors huddling to discuss the parking rate. They are cooperative competitors.

"If I'm all full, I give the cars to him or her," said Monaghan, 37, who lives across the street from Vee's property, which he and his boss are fixing up to put on the market. Vee and the others on the street do the same.

During the practice rounds they are charging $30 daily per car. Come the weekend, when the competition is at its height, Monaghan figures, the fee might rise to $100 or more. As of Tuesday, he had pocketed about $400 from the endeavor, which he plans on using to fix his bicycle and install a sunroof on his pickup truck.

Bo Chung, owner of C & L Produce on Haverford Road near Wynnewood Road, learned a hard lesson - one person's profit is another's perdition.

Though his wife had high hopes for greater sales during the Open, her expectations quickly were squashed.

"My wife was really excited," said Chung, 52. "But nooooo. They are watching the golfers, they're not buying food here.

"This is the best time of year for fruits and vegetables," he lamented, yet they are getting less business because of road closures in the area.

He is making some money by letting a ticket scalper set up a tent in his parking lot to buy and sell ducats for the U.S. Open.

Ed Marti sat in a foldable camping chair all day Tuesday, under a canopy adorned with signs announcing he was open to buy or sell tickets for the Open. He was smoking Marlboros.

He had traveled to the area from Florida, and was working for an out-of-state ticket broker who had set up shop in an empty storefront at the corner of Wynnewood and Haverford Roads.

Business was slow, he said, plus he wasn't interested in Tuesday tickets. So Downingtown resident Chris Orsini, who drove into the parking lot where Marti sat, drove right back out without any extra money in his pocket for the free tickets his wife got from her employer.

In between customers, Marti talked about aliens and reptilians. He's a believer in the extraterrestrial and thinks that all this emphasis on money - his own line of work included - "is nonsense." Aliens meddling in Earthly matters, "is the real deal."

Then he paid a man in a Mercedes about $180 for tickets to Wednesday and the big coup - a weekend ticket. Marti said earlier in the day that he probably would sell tickets for Sunday for $225. He probably was lowballing the amount. One online site Tuesday was advertising general-admission tickets for as much as $350 each.

The most enthusiastic of golf fans will pay whatever it costs. The weekend could be wild.

Maybe that's why so many police officers, from departments throughout the region, were hired to stand guard.

One officer from a Delaware County department, who declined to give his name because he wasn't authorized to talk, said working this overtime, through Sunday, would net him at least $1,000 in extra money.

That was good by him.

"Baby needs a new pair of shoes," he said.

Contact Carolyn Davis

at 610-313-8109, cdavis@phillynews.com, or @carolyntweets on Twitter.

Inquirer staff writer Jeff Gammage contributed to this article.

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