Police shut down Queens gas station. Marathon Postponed. More gas ... soon
by Andrew Pavia
Nov 01, 2012 | 38770 views | 0 0 comments | 207 207 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With a line of cars that wrapped around the block, a Shell gas station at 74th Street and Grand Avenue - one of the few in Queens that still had gas last week - was shut down by police with roughly 300 gallons left.

It was a similar scene throughout the city, as spotty mass transit service forced people to take to their cars, making for a nightmare commute. Frustrated motorists searched in vain for stations that still had petroleum.

At the Shell station in Maspeth, police said they were shutting the station down because they received calls of fighting occurring on the line. While everything seemed civil, when police began to tape off the gas station motorists left their vehicles and started yelling.

“People lost their homes in this storm,” one officer told an angry motorist, before commenting on the insignificance of gas.

Officers said they also received complaints that motorists were queueing on the wrong side of the street. From 72nd Place to 74th Street, cars were double-parked while trucks and buses navigated around them.

Nick, the owner of the Shell station who asked to be identified only by his first name, said that he has never seen anything like the lines in front of his station on Thursday morning. “We like to sell gas,” he said, “but not like this.”

When asked if the next shipment of gas would be coming to refill his station soon, he laughed and said that he didn't know. He said that he hopes a truck will be able to reach him by Saturday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo told the press on Friday, November 2 that the gasoline is coming but, “it's going to require some patience.”

One way the governor tried to alleviate the gas shortage crisis was to allow the federal government to give out free gasoline to emergency vehicles and the general public at five locations over the weekend.

At a gas station in Crown Heights on Saturday, three lines were formed, one each for first responders, citizens on foot and citizens in cars. However, after a while it became clear to many that first responders were the only ones who were filling up their tanks with consistency. The scene erupted into chaos, and some individuals were arrested or detained by police.

Suzanne Caracci, owner of Pet Palace in Middle Village, has worked to get donations from members of the community to residents of the Rockaways. The three vans ready to take the donations were halted because they didn't have enough gas to get to the Rockaways and back.

She said the gas shortage was a significant issue. “It is postponing us from dropping all of the donations off,” she said.

Nick said that when the police arrived and shut his Maspeth station down, he would have been able to continue filling up cars for about another hour.

Middle Village resident Sal Joseph Crifasi had been waiting on the line for around an hour and a half. He had been to 15 gas stations on Tuesday morning in Glendale and Rigewood, but none had gas.

“I need my car for work and I have a wedding this weekend,” Crifasi said.

When the police arrived to shut down the station, Crifasi was four cars away from filling up. He simply threw his hands up in the air, “I knew it,” he said.

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