For the past 24 hours, there has been bedlam on Bedford Avenue, as cars line up to fill their tanks at the Hess gas station on Bedford and Park avenues—apparently one of a small handful of stations in Brooklyn that still has gas.
As early as 2:00 a.m. Friday, you could hear cars honking frantically several blocks away from Bedford Avenue, as they jockeyed to keep their place in line. Motorists were jumping out of their cars, banging on the hoods of other cars that were trying to jump the line.
The side streets off of Bedford also were crowded with cars as they tried to circumvent Bedford's traffic and get in at a spot closer to the station. Police were on hand to direct traffic; drivers yelled out of their windows; and a few cars stalled and then stopped as they ran out of gas before making it to the pump.
It was 6:30 a.m., and one woman who had finally made it to the pump said she’d been waiting on line since 2:00 a.m. She declined to talk further, because her focus was directed on one goal: filling up her tank.
“The line is shorter for walk-ups. That’s why I just decided to bring a gas canister and wait here,” said one patron at the pump. “I can only get a few gallons out of this. But I’d rather wait two hours than deal with that traffic.”
At that moment a police officer began to argue with a patron who was standing in line with a five-gallon water bottle:
“Excuse me sir, but you can’t use that! I’m sorry, but that’s unacceptable,” said the 79th Pct. Officer.
“And you either,” he said pointing to a woman waiting with an empty one-gallon milk container.
They protested like their life depended upon it: “But I’ve been waiting here already for two hours, they’re all out of gas containers. C’mon man!”
“Move! Move! Move!” yelled another officer, encouraging motorists at the pump to get in and get out as soon as possible.
According to Hess’s station manager, the company had made three drop-offs in the last 24 hours, and another one was expected later this afternoon. It appears, in Brooklyn, only the Hess stations have had gas readily available in the storm’s aftermath.
According to a Hess spokesperson, the company prepared for a potential run on gas immediately upon receiving news of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival:
“Based on our experiences with hurricanes in Florida, we purchased 85 generators in advance of the storm to help us provide gasoline and diesel to people in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey in case of power disruptions,” Hess told Bed-Stuy Patch.
“As a consequence, we were able to open 177 of our 186 stations in the metropolitan area quickly after the storm to meet the needs of our customers.
"While lines and waits have been long, we take great pride in our employees working around the clock to help provide energy supplies to the public during a critical time of need when other station operators still have their doors closed.”
Hess confirmed that it plans to continue making petroleum deliveries through the weekend.