As the gas shortage on the East Coast has lingered on in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, recovery is not only at a slow pace, but tensions have been raised among many frustrated motorists for a number of reasons.
In the aftermath of the Hurricane, gas stations and their customers fell victim, as well as the lives lost in New York, the hundreds of homes shattered and the millions of houses and workplaces without power.
Frustrations were alive around Woodlawn - between McLean Avenue and Katonah Avenue - since Thursday, as people queued for hours in their vehicles as well as on foot in hopes of filling their tanks and containers with fuel.
Katonah Avenue in the Bronx became a talking point of many locals on Thursday when reality hit that fuel was in fact very limited following harbors being shut along with the struggle for wholesale gasoline suppliers to transport the gas.
Many gas stations in the area still do not have electricity as IrishCentral Community News goes to print on Sunday evening. The large BP on 233rd and Van Cortland has remained in darkness, along with surrounding houses, stores and bars since Sandy hit.
This has exacerbated the situation, forcing regular customers to burn more fuel traveling to other stations in the area, burning more fuel on the way and adding to longer lines.
The Hess gas station on Katonah Avenue on 233rd was bombarded with customers all through the day and night on Thursday.
Tempers fueled among drivers who waited in line for hours to purchase fuel- sometimes only being allowed half a tank, and sometimes not getting fuel at all.
One local Irish girl sat in line on Thursday only to witness one man try to jump the line in his truck, and then had another man get out of his car to roar abuse. "I'll kill your mother!" is what the man said to the guy who tried jumping the line," said the young woman.
Lines continued constantly all day Thursday, right into the night, stretching all the way down Katonah, around Van Cortland, meeting back at 233rd street, where yet more tempers flared.
Residents on Katonah Avenue got a full view of one gypsy cab pass out another string of cars right outside St.Barnabas school on Thursday night.
"A couple of guys got out of a car and went toward the cab with a bat. They smashed the back window of the cab before reaching in and punching the cab driver and then they pulled him out. The cops came along and the cab driver got back into the car while the gang of men threw the bat under the car and returned to the line. The cops, again, took the cab driver out of the vehicle and proceeded to turn the car around to face the other direction to send him to the back of the line,” said an eyewitness who asked not to be named because he is undocumented.
Lines were still as long in the late hours of Thursday night early hours of Friday morning. Many cars had their engines turned off to conserve gas, while some vehicles could be seen rolling along after running out of all gas.
On Friday morning at 11.45am, cops made the announcement on Katonah Avenue that was no more gas.
The line ceased from what was a mile long line to a couple of dozen cars who remained in line in hopes of another delivery coming soon.
Other customers were forced to go elsewhere, but their options were slim as no other gas stations in the area had gas or power.
Following the announcement, the avenue became alive with more frustrated people. People stood outside in their pyjamas talking and bickering.
Angelico's Bakery on Katonah was full, all morning and all day, with customers anticipating fuel stopping in for coffee and a pastry. Workers said that it had just been mayhem all week. The bakery even ran out of bagels and some baked goods- the shelves were cleared.
The deli next door also said that they had not stopped all week. The store usually closes between 11pm and 1am, but they were forced to stay open to accommodate motorists throughout the night.
After just over an hour, the savior truck arrived to the Hess station on Katonah, much to the delight of customers in car and on foot who decided to wait on line.
Within no time, the line was backed up all the way around to Van Cortland.
Cops from the 47th Precinct monitored the area on Friday afternoon- directing traffic, and cars to the pumps.
A police officer from the 47th Precinct described customers as being ''agitated and frustrated." "I don't blame them, it shouldn't be this way because the harbors are closed. People need to get to work, people have stuff to do, they need gas. People have been waiting hours, and there has been some scuffles between drivers."
"There is no limit to the amount of gasoline but the price has increased due to demand."
Allison Traynor, a local resident waited in line for over an hour, only to see the pumps run dry when she got there. "It ran out as I got to the pumps, so I left."
After leaving the station, more gas arrived so she decided to return, this time to fill up cans.
"I ended up leaving again, I spoke to a man who had been waiting two hours and twenty five minutes so I decided I'd do without!"
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