FIRST PERSON | JAMAICA, N.Y. -- Sandy has crippled many import/export operations into New York, including that of gasoline.
Less than a day after the hurricane hit, victims began sucking gas stations dry trying to keep their vehicles and generators running. A few days later, we're no longer describing the damage of our homes to each other. We're trading gas station war stories over lunch and at the water cooler.
As I was driving to work today in Queens, I noticed that my fuel gauge was pointing to just under the quarter tank mark. It was 6 a.m., and I was more than an hour early for work. I'm only two miles from work, but there are at least four gas stations on the way there. I drove to the first Sunoco station in Briarwood, but it seemed closed and headed down to the next one.
When I arrived at the Gulf station, I found a queue of about five vehicles and the station was packed, but I decided to wait. Over the next 30 minutes, many cars queued up behind me and the line didn't move an inch. After speaking to a few guys standing outside their vehicles, I realized this station had recently run out of gas, but the tanker was supposedly on its way. I'm not the type to wait for many things, so I got out of line and drove another few minutes to work.
During my lunch hour, I decided to take a walk back to the corner of Hillside Avenue and Queens Boulevard to see if the refueling truck has arrived. I recognized a couple of cars still there, the tanker had not yet arrived, and the queue now stretched up Queens Boulevard further than I can see. The Mobil station across the street has been out of gas for a while and has already taped off its hoses.
As I picked up my lunch, the news broadcast in the restaurant had announced that Yonkers is enforcing a 10-gallon per day limit. My co-workers are all hearing rumors that the fuel barges are unloading at the docks already. Regardless of fact or speculation, I hope the gasoline rescue arrives soon. However, I will be walking to meet friends and dining locally this weekend.