Veronica Roberts

Residents in all five New York boroughs, New Jersey and all storm-stricken areas of the northeast have one burning question this Saturday afternoon: where is the gas promised? During their Friday updates on storm recovery, both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo promised they were working on expediting vessels carrying fuel through NYC ports, even saying the Jones Act tax was waived but this hasn’t translated to service at the pumps.

In Saturday’s press conference, the Governor again promised that help is on the way, saying that the Department of Defense has delivered 8 million gallons of gas to NYC, with another 28 million on the way. He said 3 distribution centers will be set up to hold the fuel. From there, the fuel will be sent to the different boroughs.

In the meantime, frustration continues to boil over into desperation for residents of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island and New Jersey, many taking to Twitter and Facebook to vent loudly. Storm affected areas don’t just need the fuel for their cars; some need it for their generators. One resident told me there was no gas on Long Island. In Brooklyn the pumps are going dry, with only a few outlets still offering gas.

In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie has ordered gas rationing to help alleviate the ever growing problem which is sending the widespread frustration into overdrive. People are fighting at the pumps and one woman even pulled a gun at another in Freeport, Long Island on Thursday. Christie ordered that motorists from 12 northern NJ counties can only purchase gas every other day. This mandate kicked in at midday on Saturday.

An even-odd number system is being used to document who buys what on which days. Yes it’s beginning to sound complicated but here is how it works. Drivers with license plate numbers ending in odd numbers can only buy gas on odd days and those with even number ending plates, have to visit the pumps on even number days. Many residents rushed to stand in long lines this morning to beat the noon deadline. However, the restrictions do not apply to filling gas containers.

A disaster center was set up in Coney Island, Brooklyn by FEMA to help affected residents apply for assistance for damged or destroyed homes. ConEd is distributing dry ice in that area and will also be doing the same at the following locations:

Brooklyn: Walgreen’s 532 Neptune Ave (between W. 5th & 6th Streets)

Bronx.1846 Radcliff Avenue (Between Morris Park Avenue & Rhinelander Avenue).

Queens: Baisley Pond Park (155 St and Baisley Blvd. in South Jamaica).

Queens (Flushing): Kissena Park (Velodrome near Booth Memorial Avenue, parking lot).

Staten Island: Gateway National Park (Hylan Blvd & Buffalo Street).

Westchester: Westchester County Center (198 Central Avenue, White Plains).

Yonkers: Yonkers Raceway - 810 Yonkers Avenue.

In Friday’s press conference, Mayor Bloomberg had promised that all NY water was safe for drinking except the area of Breezy Point, Queens but now there is strict warning to the people of Far Rockaway, Queens to refrain from drinking or using any of the water in that area, not even after boiling.

Most of the power has been restored in Lower Manhattan, and though ConEd claims 70 percent of power lost has been restored, many areas are still in the dark. Areas like Long Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, Connecticut, Westchester and New Jersey. Warming centers are now open throughout NYC for residents who need some relief from the cold. Click link for locations:

Mayor Bloomberg stated that 80 percent of NYC subway lines are up and running.Click here for more info::

Neighbors and friends are coming together to help each other. Food and clothing drives are in effect in many communities and Good Samaritans are dishing out hot meals, while others are collecting money for those who lost everything during the mega storm. Food stamp recipients in NYC will receive an additonal 50 percent benefit to replace food lost during the storm. The department of health has issued some food safety guidelines, advising that all perishable foods exposed to refrigerator temperatures above 41 degrees, should be thrown out as well as foods touched by flood waters.

For a list of NYC food and water distribution centers click link below