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Thread: Gas Stations Vanishing

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    Default Gas Stations Vanishing

    June 7, 2004

    Stations Filling Up, but Not With Gas

    By SHERRI DAY


    The Gaseteria station at 59th Street and West End Avenue is one of those in Manhattan giving way to an apartment building.

    Note to motorists: Do not become attached to a gas station in Manhattan. It could be replaced by an apartment building tomorrow.

    Although gas stations are shutting down with increasing frequency throughout the city, the closures are particularly acute in Manhattan, where real estate developers, as always, are racing to acquire underdeveloped land.

    Since 1999, the number of gas stations in Manhattan has declined by 18 percent, to 207, according to the Fire Department, which maintains a record of gas stations in the city. Cropping up in their places are everything from condos to clothing stores.

    In NoHo, on Houston Street between Crosby Street and Broadway, for example, an office building and showroom complex is being built on the site of a car wash and Amoco gas station. A Mobil station at 92nd Street and First Avenue was razed last summer to make way for a 32-story luxury apartment building and hotel. On 59th Street and West End Avenue, a Gaseteria will be replaced by an apartment tower. And in West Harlem, the city and Columbia University are interested in rezoning and perhaps redeveloping an area that includes several gas stations.

    "Typically, gas stations are located on corners or full blocks and therefore they make ideal development sites," said Charles B. Kingsley, a senior director at Cushman & Wakefield, the commercial real estate firm.

    Ori Apple, who owned the Mobil station at 92nd Street and First Avenue for 15 years, has opened another automotive business, in Inwood.

    "Business was good, but the owner sold the land, so we had to leave," said Mr. Apple, whose landlord paid him to vacate the station last summer. At his new location, "we don't have a gas station," he said. Because his new property is small, he said, oil change, car wash and detailing services "are a better business."

    Vanished gas stations could mean more than mere inconvenience. Analysts said that fewer stations were likely to result in higher prices at the remaining pumps because of decreased competition.

    Demand for the land under Manhattan stations is just one of the factors affecting station owners and operators.

    The fortunes of operators were not always so bleak. In the early 1950's, owning a gas station catapulted many small-business owners down the road to wealth as more Americans bought cars, began commuting to work and set off on cross-country road trips. Much like franchisees in fast-food restaurants, station operators often worked long hours in their businesses and tied their fortunes to a single operation.

    But by the 1970's, environmental concerns and the rising costs associated with building new gas stations helped to stymie the growth of independent operators and refiners, analysts said.

    Gas station closures accelerated in 1995, when the major oil companies began to consolidate and merge low-volume stations. By operating only their most profitable gas stations, analysts said, oil companies could offer consumers slightly lower prices at the pump, while selling independent dealers gasoline at higher prices.

    Some independent dealers are struggling now, they said, because oil companies no longer provide them with subsidies for station repairs and rising rents. And, despite escalating gasoline prices, many dealers claim they are not seeing increased profits at the pump. Their margins are also being undercut by rising credit card fees.

    "We're not making more money," said Ralph Bombardiere, the executive director of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops. "This is hurting us, and our volumes are dropping. There are cheaper gases out there, and people become more price-conscious, and we can't compete."

    These conditions create headaches for dealers who rent their stations from oil companies or other landlords. Dealers who own their properties are in a much more secure position.

    Carmie L. Elmore Jr. bought his station, on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, in 1980. At the time, drugs and violence plagued the neighborhood. These days, his station, which abuts Central Park, is in a bustling, desirable locale. So Mr. Elmore has been asked many times to sell the station to make room for a high-rise something.

    "We took a chance," said Mr. Elmore, 59. "Now that things are turning around, I definitely don't want to go anywhere. Brokers are always coming around, but I just tell them, 'No. Period.' "

    Marcello Porcelli and his father, Oscar, who own the Gaseteria chain of gas stations, are pursuing a different survival tactic.

    "We're becoming real estate developers," said Marcello Porcelli, the company's president. "It just didn't make sense for the little guy to keep competing against the 800-pound gorilla. We figured if we can't beat them, join them."

    As property owners, the Porcellis have leased 25 of their stations throughout the metropolitan area to BP Amoco.

    Although the stations are being remodeled and outfitted with amenities like gourmet-coffee machines, Mr. Porcelli said he may eventually decide to level some of them to make way for more profitable developments.

    "Real estate values are too substantial to pass up the development opportunity and keep gas stations open," Mr. Porcelli said.

    Within the next year, Mr. Porcelli expects to tear down the Gaseteria station at Houston Street and Avenue B and begin constructing an apartment building. He also plans to redevelop a Gaseteria at 119th Street and First Avenue.

    In the next decade, analysts and operators envision a Manhattan with few gas stations. They are likely to be big - at least by Manhattan's standards - boxy superstations owned by multinational corporations.

    Some of Manhattan's testiest drivers are already taking issue with the changing landscape.

    "We're in big trouble," said S. A. Rashid, a taxi driver who was handing off his cab to its night shift driver at the Amoco station at Houston and Lafayette Streets. "Cabdrivers and tourists depend on gas stations' bathrooms. Sometimes I lose a half an hour or 45 minutes looking for a bathroom."

    At the Exxon station on 10th Avenue at 23rd Street, Syed Arif, 32, had a different set of woes.

    "Last week at Houston and Lafayette," he said, "they didn't have gas."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  2. #2
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Maybe is for the best. People need to use public transportation. It is one of the best in the country. If they need to leave the city then there is always renting a car. It is cheaper than having a car in the city and paying for gas and parking.

    I rent when I leave the city. I gave up my car a while back because of the cost to have it in the city is crazy.

    Of course I only leave once in a blue moon by car. If you depend on it than maybe renting is tha same as having a car in the city. Who knows.

  3. #3
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    On 59th Street and West End Avenue, a Gaseteria will be replaced by an apartment tower.
    This is great news for the Helena. It wont look so lonely in the area with this addition. :P

  4. #4
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    A Mobil station at 92nd Street and First Avenue was razed last summer to make way for a 32-story luxury apartment building and hotel.
    Within the next year, Mr. Porcelli expects to tear down the Gaseteria station at Houston Street and Avenue B and begin constructing an apartment building. He also plans to redevelop a Gaseteria at 119th Street and First Avenue.
    Wow these all sound good. I cant wait to see what they will look like. This is good news.

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    This is funny...I was literally saying this in the car today. In Eastern Queens, it seems like every gas station is being built on, especially on major roads like Northern Blvd. and Union Tpke. I was saying no one's going to be able to buy gas anymore between the cost and the 2 stations in Queens that will be left!

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    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    From http://www.knowledgeplex.org/news/11705.html

    The Gaseteria gasoline station located on West End Avenue, situated between 59th and 60th streets, is to be razed to make way for a 276-unit residential rental tower. The first tenants are expected to move in the fall of 2005.
    I don't know about the move in the fall of 2005. I think this has been delay somehow. I don't see anything going up yet. :|

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by billyblancoNYC
    This is funny...I was literally saying this in the car today. In Eastern Queens, it seems like every gas station is being built on, especially on major roads like Northern Blvd. and Union Tpke. I was saying no one's going to be able to buy gas anymore between the cost and the 2 stations in Queens that will be left!
    While some gas stations have been torn down, the remainder are thriving. There is a BP Amoco in Bayside Queens along Northern Boulevard, and it's effectively become a hotspot for all types of car drivers and locals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agglomeration
    Quote Originally Posted by billyblancoNYC
    This is funny...I was literally saying this in the car today. In Eastern Queens, it seems like every gas station is being built on, especially on major roads like Northern Blvd. and Union Tpke. I was saying no one's going to be able to buy gas anymore between the cost and the 2 stations in Queens that will be left!
    While some gas stations have been torn down, the remainder are thriving. There is a BP Amoco in Bayside Queens along Northern Boulevard, and it's effectively become a hotspot for all types of car drivers and locals.
    BP Amoco, and maybe Lukoil, are the only ones that I see building or ronovating gas stations.

  10. #10
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Gasoline Stations Are Disappearing From Manhattan Landscape


    By BRADLEY HOPE - Special to the Sun
    April 13, 2006

    Just months after the City Council paved the way for big residential projects in Chelsea, gas stations are quickly disappearing as developers seek large plots to capitalize on the housing boom.

    In the last few months, an Exxon station on 23rd Street and Tenth Avenue, a Gulf station on 28th Street and Tenth Avenue, a Mobil station on 42nd Street and Eleventh Avenue, and another gas station on 53rd Street and Tenth Avenue have closed, inconveniencing drivers near key entrances to the West Side Highway and contributing to the recent run-up in city gas prices.

    "Competition is a factor in these gas prices," the executive director of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, Ralph Bombardiere, said.

    The far West Side has more gas stations than most parts of Manhattan, but the neighborhood's ongoing transformation into an upscale residential enclave is in part possible because gas stations - with their unused air space, relatively large square footage, and prime locations - are seen increasingly as weak business enterprises.

    "The property in Manhattan is more valuable as something else besides a gas station," Mr. Bombardiere said. "We've been closing stations steadily."

    In 2005, Manhattan had a total of 58 stations, four fewer than in 2002, according to the city's Department of Consumer Affairs. The numbers for 2006 aren't out yet, but with the West Side and Chelsea closings, the number could drop to close to 50 stations to serve the tens of thousands of driving commuters and taxi and delivery truck drivers who enter Manhattan every day.

    The city has seen similar transformations in recent years along Houston Street and on the Upper East Side along First Avenue. Gas stations have been demolished to make way for apartment towers, hotels, and office buildings. Even the emblematic Gaseteria stations have thinned out across the boroughs.

    To make matters worse for drivers, gas prices are rising across the country. The Energy Department announced in its seasonal forecast for energy prices that the average gallon of gasoline will be 25 cents more this summer than last, at $2.62. A gallon at most gas stations in New York City are already selling for substantially more than that. With demand for oil outpacing supply and global security risks to the energy infrastructure, gas prices will be high throughout 2006, the Energy Department said. Another terrorist attack or natural disaster could make things far worse, the report said.

    Gas is already carce on the booming Upper West Side. There is only one gas station on the entire West Side between 50th Street and the northern tip of Central Park. The area is known to have the highest gas prices around.

    An independent distributor for Mac Tools, Steven Pabon, who was delivering automotive tools along

    10th Avenue yesterday, said the closings are forcing him to spend more time during the workday looking for a gas station, often forcing him to drive well off his path of scheduled deliveries.

    "It's causing trouble for everyone," Mr. Pabon said. He said he was losing some money on the extra driving, but that the difference is nothing compared to the escalating gas prices.

    "Its just absolutely insane. Right now, it's up to $3.30 a gallon. It's really hard to find diesel gas, as well," he said. "We have to do other things to make up for that cost: We've had to raise prices."

    The closed Exxon station at 23rd Street is being developed into a 145-foot apartment building by Leviev-Boymelgreen. The company's development director, Sara Mirski, said the firm Gerner, Kronick, and Valcarcel is designing it.

    "Clearly, they are worth more as apartment buildings than as gas stations," she said. "We are always looking for development opportunities. ... Land is finite, even contaminated land."

    The other lots do not yet have permits for buildings, the Department of Buildings said, but neighbors said they've been told the lots will be developed into apartment buildings. For now, the fuel tanks and dangerous materials are being removed from the areas, according to permits from the department.

    The new zoning guidelines for West Chelsea passed by the City Council last June require that 27% of new housing be "affordable."

    The guidelines allow the development of the High Line into a 1.6-mile park. Construction began this week on the new attraction, which will run from the Gansevoort Market to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

    The executive for sales on the West Side for Halstead Properties, Michael Goldenberg, said gas stations and especially parking lots are prime real estate locations because there is little demolition necessary to begin construction.

    "I wish we had some more parking lots up here," he said. "We would buy them up in a minute."


    © 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.

  11. #11
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Manhattan’s Vanishing Gas Stations

    By C. J. HUGHES


    Tina Fineberg for The New York Times
    A 16-unit condo building is being constructed on a former gas station site at 11 North Moore Street in TriBeCa.



    Tina Fineberg for The New York Times
    At East Houston Street and Avenue C, a rental building is to rise where a Mobil station now stands, after its lease expires.


    Perhaps there is no clearer sign that Manhattan space has reached a high premium than the continuing disappearance of gasoline stations at main intersections.

    Spurred by the recession and now the recovery’s development clamor, service stations popular among New York cabbies and motorists are literally losing their ground to apartments, stores and offices. Rezoning of these sites for residential use has also spurred development.

    Their diminishing numbers have rankled city motorists and taxi drivers whose memories of long lines at gas stations after Hurricane Sandy remain fresh a year later. Others worry that high rises are relentlessly displacing essential fixtures of the city’s streetscape, like hospitals, churches and schools.

    But these sites, whose oddball shapes and suburban style always made an unusual fit in New York’s grid, offer developers can’t-miss opportunities in a land-starved city.

    And even though there is a risk of contamination from underground tanks where there might have been spills, developers covet the stations’ locations.

    “They tend to be on corner lots, at major intersections, which are great places to build,” said Zach Vella, a principal in VE Equities, which is constructing a 16-unit condo on a former gas station site in TriBeCa, at 11 North Moore Street.

    At nearby 290 West Street, at Canal Street, where a Mobil once stood, VE Equities is building another 12-unit condo building.

    Some of these land parcels, viewed in the mid-20th century as castaway scraps, have become more valuable as fewer slices of land are available for development.

    With a sweep of pavement and often only a single tenant to relocate, these sites can be ideal for ground-up construction, according to Mr. Vella. “We are not confined by pre-existing buildings,” he said. “We can just sort of jump in.”

    In a sense, the bidding comes at a fortunate time. As the energy industry has consolidated in the past decades, reducing competition, oil companies have seemed to favor large blocklong stations as opposed to scattered smaller ones.

    Some of those companies have left the retail gasoline business. Exxon Mobil, for instance, sold its company-owned stations a few years ago, and the new owners have been squeezed by changing driving habits and environmental rules, industry sources say.

    Outside New York, those owners often build large markets on their properties to raise profit margins, though that is often impractical in Manhattan.

    In October, there were 117 stations in Manhattan, down from 207 in 2004, or a 44 percent decrease, according to the city’s Bureau of Fire Prevention. The city as a whole has 35 percent fewer stations than it did a decade ago, according to the data.

    Manhattan seems comparatively underserved. Its 117 stations represent about 9 percent of the New York total, similar to Staten Island, which has less than a third of Manhattan’s population.
    Among the converted stations to generate the most interest recently is one at 239 10th Avenue, at West 24th Street, near the High Line in West Chelsea.

    Serving as a Getty station until it closed last summer, the spot featured an outdoor art exhibit with statues of sheep on grassy mounds amid red-topped gas pumps. The exhibit had an unintended consequence: generating respect for an industrial relic.

    “Somebody said to me, ‘I didn’t realize the gas station was so pretty,’ ” said Michael Shvo, a developer who bought the site for $23.5 million this year.

    Nevertheless, he and his development partner, Victor Homes, are going ahead with plans to build a 12-story, 15-unit condo beginning next year.

    “Developers like these sites for the same reason gas stations wanted to be there originally,” Mr. Shvo said. “Lots of people and lots of traffic.”

    Like laundromats, gas stations can be tough to sell because of concerns that the soil beneath them may be polluted, brokers say. A glance around any suburb can reveal stations that have sat empty for years, in part because the sites may be brownfields, requiring the cleanup of chemical pollutants — or at least the fear of that possibility makes it hard to get loans for redevelopment.

    Often, deed restrictions have been placed on properties by sellers or long-ago owners, which can ban residential development to avoid health problems and potential lawsuits.

    Those restrictions can be lifted before a deal closes, however, if the buyers reassure the sellers by excavating several feet of soil, for example, or installing protective shields.

    A restriction like that is now in place at 718 11th Avenue, where a Mobil station on a corner lot at West 51st Street is for sale at $9.5 million. If affordable housing were included, a developer could put up a 29,000-square-foot apartment building on the site, which has a lease in place till 2015, said Matthew Nickerson, a broker with Massey Knakal Realty Services.

    While cleanup and insurance can be expensive for these sites, the development potential of land in a bustling Manhattan neighborhood far outweighs those problems, said Mr. Nickerson, who was also involved in Mr. Shvo’s deal.

    Still, “between construction and insurance,” he said, “this is not like building on a typical site.”

    Next year, a BP station at 300 Lafayette Street, at East Houston Street in SoHo, is expected to close, to make way for a planned seven-story, 75,000-square-foot office tower from the LargaVista Companies, according to someone with knowledge of the project who requested anonymity to avoid damaging the project’s chances of getting city approvals.

    LargaVista has owned the site since 1976, though gas has been pumped there since the 1930s, and plans to take advantage of the site’s prominent location by putting stores on the building’s three lowest floors, the person said.

    It is not the first time the firm has hung up its nozzles. In the mid-2000s, it turned a nearby Gaseteria into a 23-unit condo called One Avenue B, although it had to shoehorn the project into a triangular lot.

    In addition, at the nearby intersection of East Houston and Avenue C, where a Mobil occupies a trapezoidal parcel, a rental building will rise on the site when the station’s lease expires in two years, according to HPNY, a development firm that is a partner in the project.

    The 12-story rental building will encompass 43,000 square feet of apartments, as well as 6,000 square feet of ground-floor stores, which will wrap three sides, HPNY said.

    With so many gas stations going the way of Model T’s, crimping supply, holdouts may end up thriving, a possibility not lost on Vasilios Hondros, a manager of a Mobil that opened in May on Eighth Avenue and Horatio Street in Greenwich Village.

    Replacing what was most recently a Lukoil, the station has, according to Mr. Hondros, tripled the size of its store, which sells candy, e-cigarettes and lottery tickets. Taxicabs provide three-fourths of the business, he said.

    At $12,000, the monthly rent is not cheap, Mr. Hondros said, though he has no plans to leave before the end of his 15-year lease.

    “They’re just trying to put condos everywhere, to make it so just rich people can live in New York,” he said. “I feel bad for the people who have to drive.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/23/re...er=rss&emc=rss

  12. #12

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    I always wondered about the hostility towards gas stations on this forum. As much as people want to keep NY a bit gritty, gas stations seem to be as welcome here as Lindsay Lohan at a church social. You can't get much grittier than a gas station, and cars, for better or worse, aren't going anywhere. What few there are left won't hurt anything.

    Those downtown gasoline boys
    Sure talk gritty
    It's so hard to be
    A saint in the city.

    Springsteen

  13. #13

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    I didn’t realize the gas station was so pretty


    “They tend to be on corner lots, at major intersections, which are great places to build,” said Zach Vella, a principal in VE Equities, which is constructing a 16-unit condo on a former gas station site in TriBeCa, at 11 North Moore Street.
    Actually a former parking lot site. The gas station has been gone since the 1960s.

  14. #14
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    As a worker in the city that had to find a gas station... It is a PITA.

    Until we go electric, we need to find some way, in a town that charges $$$$$$$$$$$ for cab licenses, to get gas into those vehicles in a way that is quick, efficient, CLEAN, and does not block traffic.

    Aside from 100% elimination from Manhattan Petrol... Solution?

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    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Filling Up Is Hard to Do

    Manhattan Drivers Look Far and Wide for Gas as Developers Snap Up Stations

    By Josh Barbanel


    A Mobil station at 11th Avenue and West 51st Street has plenty of customers but is on the market for $9.5 million.
    Agaton Strom for The Wall Street Journal


    A rendering of 10 Sullivan St., the site of an old gas station. Archpartners

    In many affluent parts of Manhattan, the gas station is going the way of the neighborhood shoemaker or butcher, as operators sell out one-by-one to real-estate developers.
    A decade ago, 33 gas stations were listed as in business in Manhattan south of 96th Street, according to city records. Today, 11 remain, with two of those scheduled to close next year and one on the market.

    Drivers say the reduced competition has led to occasional long lines to fill up.

    "They used be on every corner," said Theodore Wagner, a plumber who has driven a car in Manhattan for half a century, and now has to drive for several miles from his home on Sutton Place South just to fill up. He prefers stations in the Bronx and Brooklyn, where gas is cheaper.

    The loss of gas stations is most pronounced below 96th Street, but there have been some losses further uptown, too. The city listed 14 stations open in 2003 between 96th and 135th Streets. Today, 10 remain, and two of those appear likely to close.

    Last year, the city's Economic Development Corporation put out a request for interest from developers who would take over a city-controlled BP gas station on the northwest corner of Central Park in Harlem as a possible development site. The last open gas station near Columbia University would be closed eventually under later phases of its development plan.

    Many of Manhattan's gas stations have turned into more valuable real-estate ventures, from condominiums, to rental buildings, from retail and commercial space.

    "People are walking the streets and making unsolicited offers for gas stations and parking lots," said Adelaide Polsinelli, a broker at Eastern Consolidated.

    A Mobil station on 11th Avenue and West 51st Street is now on the market for $9.5 million as a condominium-development site. James Nelson, a partner of Massey Knakal Realty Services who has the listing said there were "several interested parties" and it was "definitely going over the asking price."

    Earlier this year, a Getty station sale on West 24th Street next to the High Line Park went for $23.5 million—nearly $800 per square foot—to make way for a condo development, by Michael Shvo and Victor Homes.

    A block south, another former gas station was incorporated into a new, 13-story rental building along the High Line known as 1023 by Equity Residential. One-bedroom rents there are now listed at $4,695 a month and up.

    Two gas stations on Houston Street are due to close next year. A BP station at Houston and Lafayette Streets is being refashioned by the real-estate development firm LargaVista into a seven-story building with 30,000 square feet of retail and 40,000 square feet of commercial space.

    On Houston Street and Avenue C, a 10- to 12-story rental building with ground floor retail is planned, said Ivan Hakimian, a partner in the development group.

    Gas stations were originally built on less desirable locations in Manhattan—in the once-industrial far West Side, and once-declining downtown neighborhoods such as SoHo. But real-estate values have soared in those areas.

    Robert Knakal, the chairman of Massey Knakal Realty Services, said the return on a gas station that comes with air rights "is minuscule" compared with what a property is worth.

    A now-closed gas station stood on an triangle of land on Sixth Avenue near Sullivan Street in SoHo since 1935, with carwash next door. A few years ago, the gas station was sold as a hotel-development site.

    Now both buildings are being transformed into a 204-foot-high condominium building that narrows at one end like the prow of a ship, with four new townhouses next door, said Kevin Maloney, president of Property Markets Group, which is developing the site with Madison Equities.

    The number of car registrations in Manhattan has been stable over the last decade—with 221,916 registrations last year, state figures show—but the number of cars entering and leaving core parts of Manhattan has fallen 9.8% from a peak in 1998, the city says.

    The loss of gas stations are mourned by some and celebrated others, as part of a transformation of downtown in a postindustrial era. Charles Komanoff, a transportation planner and cycling advocate, said gas stations are disappearing because of the economic inefficiency of cars in the city "that take up space on the road, at the curb and at refueling."

    But Diallo Nouhou, who lives in Harlem and has been driving a cab for 20 years, wants to know where all the gas stations went. He now sometimes finds jams of up to an hour or more at gas pumps at 4:30 p.m. toward the end of his shift, as taxi drivers refill before heading to back to the garage. "If you are late, they charge you $20 for 15 minutes," he said.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/...NewsCollection

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