I pulled into the right lane of traffic on a main thoroughfare in Queens currently being used as a gas line. I stepped out of my car and walked around to the passenger side window of the vehicle in front of mine. What gas station and how far away, I asked through his window. ‘Hess’, he replied, ‘and about 4 blocks I think.’ I sauntered back to my CRV thinking two things. One-I suppose the configuration of that guy’s heating system takes down his hot water along with his power as he was in desperate need of a shower and two-I can see more than four blocks away and couldn’t see a gas station.
I got off the line, drove away and found the dubious oasis of a pit stop nine and a half blocks away. Crazy still, they were not pumping any gas and were just waiting for a delivery. These scenes are playing out all over the NY Metropolitan area. And as a caveat to this particular encounter, it was 6am. The vast majority of these wannabe fuel patrons had been sleeping overnight in their cars. I heard that another nearby Queen’s gas station was shut down by the police while pumping fuel when a fist fight broke out, so add the sum of all those cars next to you in line now.
Notwithstanding all that, in the continual darkness, I navigated myself and my quarter tank of gas back home for breakfast. Fuel something I suppose.
But getting home is not a sure bet either these days. Intersections with dead traffic signals are meant to be treated as 4-way stop signs. Most drivers are either unaware of that fact, or perhaps just don’t care to lower their scarce MPG’s; other great thinkers seemingly believe an expressway has been suddenly opened. Crossing these major junctions has become dangerous. I have seen a couple of serious accidents and heard of others who have been badly injured.
And there exists a growing contingent of folks who are riding their bicycles around in pitch black conditions as well. The combination of not yet removed fallen trees, tangled among down power lines by the sides of unlit roads, sleep deprived bike riders and vehicle operators who now seem desensitized to danger via the omnipresence of police tape and caution cones is a troubling mix.
The NYC Board of Education has announced that schools will reopen Monday. However, many schools in the tri-state area are still closed due to lack of power, significant water damage, or they may be functional but are being used as a community shelter.
Throughout the region, homes near the shores were completely destroyed and many other properties will have to be torn down.
Much of the subway system may be up and moving again, but a better check of reality is that more than 100 people lost their lives in Sandy’s path, at least 42 of those in NY.
Knowing all this, I could not believe Mayor Bloomberg had even been contemplating going forward with the NYC Marathon that been scheduled for today, but was thankfully canceled as of Friday afternoon. I’m glad he finally came to his senses. Police, Fire, Ambulance and other city services are still greatly needed elsewhere. And the only time results worth measuring today involve how long it will take to move the needle on your dashboard from E to F.
Certainly NYC will continue its rehab and soon be strong, vibrant and healthy again. For now though, it must begin to walk before it can run.
© 2012 Christopher’s Views
Alas, with a bit of luck a tank of gas will help bring food and clothing to some of those in need.