Gowanus Lounge

Free Gasoline in Brooklyn Adds to Distress in Sandy’s Aftermath

Free Gasoline at the Brooklyn Armory Causes Confusion

What at first sounded like good news to Brooklyn residents who have been patiently waiting in insanely long lines for gasoline for their cars and generators, turned into confusion and bad feelings after Borough President Marty Markowitz sent out an announcement that free gas was available at the Brooklyn Armory on Saturday.

“Marty Markowitz sent a Tweet out around 9:17 a.m. and said that Brooklyn Armory was passing out free gas so I came out with my can,” said one woman.

But when she got to the Bedford Street location she was told that the gas was only for cars.

The woman retorted, “I don’t have enough gas to get here to try and get gas so how am I gonna get home?”

Another resident in search of gas explained that the gas was “for police and ambulances, we’re not getting gas out of this deal. The best thing to do is go home and wait ’til tomorrow.”

Nevertheless, a line whose end was not visible soon formed through the streets from the Armory onward. No one seemed to be in charge, neither police nor Army personnel. One car in the line had already used up one quarter of its tank of gas in search of the line’s end.

“We’ve been around the block four times already,” said the driver of the gas-depleted car. “The National Guard was standing there and said they were just here for support. The cops told us to go down this block. It’s full pandemonium, chaos out here.”

Later in the day more confusion was added when Governor Cuomo’s office asked news outlets to announce that the free, rationed gas was only for emergency personnel.

“I think it should be saved for emergency vehicles as well as the motorists as well because we all may have emergency places to go such as me I work with people with challenging behaviors,” said one anxious motorist.

In the end, despite all the mixed messages the police relented and gave gasoline to all who arrived whether they were in a car, or just had a can or bottle to fill.


Shari has certainly been around the block. As a teacher, writer, former CEO and present day master chef, Shari can cover a human interest story with a flare and style hard to match anywhere. Born and raised in the streets, schools and institutions of Brooklyn, Shari is the epitome of Brooklyn life. Contact Shari at shari(at)gowanuslounge.com.