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November 3, 2012

New Yorkers running short of fuel supplies, patience

NEW YORK (AP) — When it came to fuel supplies and patience, the New York metro area was running close to empty yesterday.

From storm-scarred New Jersey to parts of Connecticut, a widespread lack of gasoline or electricity to pump it brought grousing, gridlock and worse, compounding frustrations as millions of Americans struggled to return to normal days after Superstorm Sandy. A man pulled a gun in one gas-line fracas that led to an arrest.

Lines of cars, and in many places queues of people on foot carrying bright red jerry cans for generators, waited for hours for the precious fuel. And those were the lucky ones. Other customers gave up after finding only closed stations or dry pumps marked with yellow tape or “No Gas” signs.

“EMPTY!” declared the red-type headline dominating the New York Daily News’ front page.

“I drove around last night and couldn’t find anything,” said a relieved Kwabena Sintim-Misa as he finally prepared to fill up yesterday morning in Fort Lee, N.J., near the George Washington Bridge, where the wait in line lasted three hours.

Arlend Pierre-Louis of Elmont, on Long Island, said he awoke at 4:30 a.m. to try to get gas.

When he finally found some — “the one working pump in Elmont” — the line was so long he gave up and returned to his home, which still has no light or hot water.

At a Hess gas station in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, the 10-block line caused confusion among passing drivers.

“There’s been a little screaming, a little yelling. And I saw one guy banging on the hood of a car,” said Vince Levine, who got in line in his van at 5 a.m. and was still waiting at 8 a.m. “But mostly it’s been OK.”

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