“I’m almost out of gas and it’s like Mad Max out there,” says King Phojanakong, who owns the restaurants Umi Nom in Bed-Stuy and Kuma Inn in the LES, which is temporarily closed. Because the trains aren’t running, Phojanakong has been picking up and dropping off his employees since Tuesday, starting in Woodhaven and Inwood and ending at his Bed-Stuy restaurant.
There may be millions of gallons docking right now, but the pumps are empty and gas stations have attracted both long lines and confrontations. So while he can still do business and afford to pay his employees, Phojanakong says he will consider bartering meals for gas.
He isn’t the only one. While the Red Hook Lobster Pound, which lost of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and equipment, put out a call for gasoline while the cleanup continues, at Bubby’s in Tribeca, owner Ron Silver has taken to Twitter to set his terms. “We are in need of six gallons of gas in order to keep serving food tomorrow,” Silver wrote yesterday, seeking to keep his generators, and the restaurant, powered in exchange for pies and pancakes. One of the restaurant’s supporters has even been checking in at fuel pumps in Harlem, but no one has been successful.