2nd Avenue gas station closed earlier in 2014.
As we all know, real estate prices just keep on rising in Manhattan. And to whom are developers turning to find the prime location for their next high rise condos? Gas stations. Historically, gas stations are on street corners and along major roads for easy access, and the small amount of actual structure is easy for developers to take down. Real estate prices are so high that it’s starting to make sense for owners to sell the valuable plot where the gas station was for more money than they would make off of the gas itself.
Here is a map of the remaining gas stations in Manhattan:
In 2004, there were 60 gas stations in the borough of Manhattan. The map above was made earlier this year, in May 2014, and shows 38 gas stations. Since May, several have closed and there are now fewer than 35 gas stations on the island. You may even remember the gas station that was turned into rolling hills for grazing sheep, before it to was converted into luxury housing.
Although the borough of Manhattan has only a 23% car ownership rate, the disappearance of gas stations is hitting cab drivers hardest. Many cabbies usually have to leave Manhattan to gas up once during their shifts, causing them to lose valuable time and money.
One of the few remaining gas stations in Lower Manhattan, located at Houston and Lafayette Streets is perpetually busy with cars pulling in and out to refuel. However, as it is located at a busy intersection (both pedestrian and vehicular), the lot is to be turned into an office tower within the next few years.
Defenders of the decrease in number of gas stations maintain that it’s not all bad; that cars are inefficient in the postindustrial era of downtown Manhattan and fuel hubs are a hinderance for all vehicles on the road, not just cars.
For better or for worse, the fact is that disappearing gas stations is an inconvenience for some, and a blessing for others (just like every other change and development on this island). As it doesn’t look like the rate at which building are going up in Manhattan is going to slow down anytime soon, clear the bridges and let cabbies gas up in the outer boroughs!