Update, 3:30 p.m.: New York’s gasoline giveaway is off. After city residents swarmed the mobile fueling station sites announced by Governor Cuomo this morning, officials have decided that free gasoline will now mainly be given to emergency workers. “We have asked the general public to no longer come to these distribution centers,” said Eric Durr, the director of public affairs for the New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs. He added that the 28 million gallons of fuel headed for New York will soon eliminate the need for emergency rations.
Update: In a late morning press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York, which has fuel problems of its own, would also get some relief. “Do not panic. I know there is anxiety about fuel,” he said. “The situation has been remedied.” Eight million gallons of gasoline have been delivered, and another 28 million will arrive over the next few days. The Department of Defense is setting up mobile fueling stations around the city to distribute the (free) gasoline with a 10-gallon per-person limit. The trucks will be making their first stops at the Queens Armory in Jamaica, the Bronx Armory in Fordham Manor, the Brooklyn Armory in Prospect Heights, the Staten Island/Elizabeth Armory, and the the Freeport Armory in Nassau County.
He also confirmed that 80 percent of subway service has now been restored: “The 4, 5, 6 and 7 trains will immediately begin to run. The F, J, D [and] M will run later this afternoon. The Staten Island Railway will have limited service beginning later today.”
“SoPo“ is almost no more: Yesterday evening, the lights came on in the East Village, Soho, much of the Lower East Side, and in Kips Bay, from 39th Street to 30th Street between the East River and Madison Ave. And very early this morning, two more downtown neighborhoods — the West Village and Greenwich Village — got their power back, as well.
Power on in the West Village as of 4am. No one awake to cheer.
— Robert Sietsema (@robertsietsema) November 3, 2012
On the plus side, those who were toughing it out in their powerless apartments west of Broadway woke up to a nice surprise. Right now, only 5,800 people in Manhattan are without power, though Consolidated Edison’s online outage map says shows that a total of 334,000 NYC customers remain in the dark, including 81,000 in Queens, 31,000 in Brooklyn, 31,000 on Staten Island, and 25,000 in the Bronx.
With much of Downtown back on the grid, most of the subways are expected to increase service on Saturday, including the 2, 3, 4, and 5 lines under the East River and D, N, Q, and J across the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. One (mostly) good sign: Last night, the MTA began collecting fares for the first time since it reopened. Meanwhile, NYU Langone Medical Center, which had to be evacuated during the storm when its backup generators failed, announced plans to reopen “almost all” practices on Monday. However, Bellevue, which also had to evacuate its 700 patients a couple days after Sandy, could be closed for as long as two weeks.
The news out of New Jersey this morning is less heartening. The state, whose electricity comes from Public Service Electric and Gas, is still home to 600,000 powerless customers. And an ongoing gasoline shortage lead Governor Chris Christie to order fuel rationing in 12 counties starting at noon on Saturday. Drivers with license plates ending in an even number are now only allowed to buy gas on even-numbered days (and vice versa for plates ending in odd numbers.) There are no restrictions on the filling of gas canisters, and the order will stay in place for as long as New Jersey’s state of energy emergency remains in effect. “I encourage all New Jerseyans to abide by this system – motorists and retail dealers alike – to ease wait times and improve access for everyone,” said Attorney General Jeffery S. Chiesa. “Those who choose to disregard this order will be prosecuted to the fullest extent permitted under the Governor’s state of emergency authority.”