Long waits and frustrated drivers created a volatile mix at gas stations all over the city Saturday as the government stepped with truckloads of free fuel and mixed signals about who could fill up. NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.
As word spread there would be free gasoline outside the Brooklyn Armory Saturday people started heading to Bedford Street. One woman got an electronic heads-up from the borough president.
"Marty Markowitz sent a Tweet out around 9:17 a.m. and said that Brooklyn Armory was passing out free gas so I came out with my can," said the woman.
As soon as one woman arrived she was told gas was only for people in cars.
"I don't have enough gas to get here to try and get gas so how am I gonna get home?" said the woman.
"It's for police ambulance, we're not getting gas out of this deal. The best thing to do is go home and wait 'til tomorrow," said one gas seeker.
Before long, a line farther than the eye could see snaked through local streets and no one --police officers nor Army personnel could tell NY1 who was in charge. It was first come, first serve.
One car waiting in line used up a quarter of a tank trying to find the end of the line.
"We've been around the block four times already," said the driver. "The National Guard was standing there and said they were just here for support. The cops told us to go down this block. It's full pandemonium, chaos out here."
Then the game changed again.
Late in the afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo's office asked members of the media to tell people the rationed gas was for emergency personnel only.
"I think it should be saved for emergency vehicles as well as the motorists as well because we all may have emergency places to go such as me I work with people with challenging behaviors," said one distressed driver.
With all that, police gave in and opened the spigot to all comers, people in cars and people lined up with canisters and bottles too.