Gasoline shortage makes Sandy recovery harder for NYC

Snip from a New York Times update on the Sandy recovery in New York and New Jersey, and the impact of limited gas supplies on rescue and emergency services:

The effort to secure enough gas for the region moved to the forefront of recovery work. [NY Gov. Andrew] Cuomo said that as ports were reopened, the gas shortages should start to ease.

In New Jersey, drivers waited in lines that ran hundreds of vehicles deep, requiring state troopers and local police officers to protect against exploding tempers. Some ran out of gas waiting.

At stations that were open, nerves frayed. Fights broke out Thursday at the blocklong Hess station on 10th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, forcing the Police Department to send three officers to keep the peace, a police official said. By evening, the police had to close two lanes of the broad thoroughfare to accommodate a line of customers stretching eight blocks, to 37th Street.

And above, a related video report from Mother Jones' Climate Desk:

Limited bus and subway service returned to New York City Thursday morning, but cars remained one of the only options for moving between boroughs. As a result, the streets of Brooklyn—which normally depends heavily on public transit—were overwhelmed with drivers, and they were all looking for one thing: gas. But the city's main artery for this staple, the Port of New York, was closed during Hurricane Sandy and only just re-opened, leading to massive shortages, closed stations, and excruciating—and tense—lines for the pump.


  1. Car services stopped working in some places because there is no gas. But hey, the NYC Marathon is still on, right?  Oh but get this: The NYC Marathon might be on, but they don’t even know how to get runners to the starting line on Staten Island… Which has been devastated.  My brain is hanging upside down. 

    1. Actually the New York City marathon might be just the reminder a whole bunch of people need. If it going to tale you an hour and half to drive there and a half an hour to walk, then walk. You can bet quite a few of those who could walk and just stubbornly sticking to the queues because it is their right to do so.
      I would not have the slightest hesitation in just calling in a sicky and skipping all that hassle, for a few days until it all settles down.

  2. Yeah, no car services open around here. Empty yellow cabs are just driving around with “off-duty” signs on and ignoring people. I did the MTA shuttle bus from Brooklyn to Manhattan yesterday to get to and from work, but it turned what’s normally a 40 minute commute into 3 hours. Each way. Most of it standing in a long line. In the darkness. With people breaking into fistfights right next to me because of line-cutting. Being ignored by police who stood and watched as we were crushed by mobs into their barricades, who refused to use the most basic of crowd-control techniques, like separating the line into separate lanes as they approached the embarkation point so that people could get to the bus they needed to get to without stampeding over those in front of them.

    It was terrifying chaos. (I wrote about it on my blog yesterday. Today I am working from home.)

    You just can’t get anywhere.

    1. Yup. I can confirm. I have not gone back to work this week because my offices are in Lower Manhattan & the power & telco is out, but the two times I had to simply ride the bus to get to somewhere this week, the negative electricity was palatable.

      Get this: Me and others almost got into a fight when the bus stopped, the driver flicked on the green back door light & said we could get off the back of the bus now.  Previously he was 100% adamant about getting off the front, but now he opened the back.  And despite the driver himself saying so, people were shouting at other passengers to NOT get off the back.Yeah, that makes 100% no sense.  The level of skittish, stir-crazy & tension is really at that level.  Calm heads prevail, and I have actually cut down on the caffeine this week so I can be as “zen” as possible when that kind of nonsense happens.

      It’s weird in NYC. It’s not a 100% blackout for everyone. Not a 100% gas shortage for everyone. Not a 100% crisis for everyone but it’s definitely a Tesla coil of tension all over.

  3. Lines for gas in NJ are about the same. 1-2 hour wait, and hopefully there will be gasoline left when you get to the pumps.

  4. I’m still shaken by it, actually. The police response to our pleas for help ranged from indifference to active, jeering hostility (“If you don’t like it, lady, you can walk home”.) I have an elderly father who lives along on Roosevelt Island and if I didn’t have an aunt with a car who also lives in Brooklyn I don’t know how I’d get to see him. And I am one of the very very very lucky ones. I have now-homesless coworkers with crushed houses, friends tending to elderly neighbors in 17th-floor apartments with no power or water, mere blocks away from Wall Street, which is doing just fine.

  5. If you were planning to run the marathon, maybe just do it next year?  Sounds like a major clustercuss.  And how dangerous for any marginal runners who need medical assistance?  Sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

    1. Also, the marathon is really a collective event that needs the bystanders as much as the runners.  Nobody is in a good mood. Without that positive vibe, running is a no-go.  Also, it’s cancelled now, but keep in mind a good chunk of the runners who were slated to run decided to ditch of use the opportunity to get to Staten Island to volunteer to help folks.  I mean how would it look if the marathon started, and thousands of runners simply didn’t run but walked over inwards to Staten Island and help? Hey, that would look amazing… And make the NYC Road Runners club & the City look horrible.  Canceling is the best move.

      1. Has anyone from the marathon organizers suggested that the people who were going to run (or watch) just help with the cleanup instead? I’d have thought that tens of thousands of able bodied people with a day off would be a valuable resource in the cleanup efforts if they could be properly organized.

        1. Too many to link to, but there are tons of grassroots groups of marathon runners who are helping out.

          Also, there was a huge group of runners who were going to abandon the starting line when the marathon stated to go into Staten Island to help.  Can you imagine the mob scene that would have ensued if that happened?  Pretty confident that is part of the reason it was cancelled as well.

  6. Since I have been off-topic, will say my friends tweets & Facebook updates basically ring the same tone: Waiting in line, fights breaking out, cops show up, gas runs out, some folks decide to leave the line & give up. Others are sleeping in their cars to keep their spot in line. This had better get cleared up pronto.

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