When I moved in to my place in Park Slope four years ago, I was just looking for an affordable share that was a close commute to NYU, where I was going to grad school. One of my brother’s old friends had a decent-sized one-bedroom with low rent. She traveled a lot for work, and eventually moved out of the city. I kept the apartment.
I noticed the gas station on the block when I first viewed the apartment, but I didn’t think anything of it. I had a car at the time, so I thought it could be convenient someday. (I still opted to get gas in New Jersey, though. It’s more affordable). It’s nice to be in Park Slope on my budget. I don’t think the gas stations depreciate the real estate value here at all.
The perks: If I’m in a hurry to get somewhere or I just don’t want to take the subway into Manhattan, I can walk over and usually catch a cab filling up. The cabs leave the top lights on if they’re available.
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It’s also a good landmark when giving directions to a cab driver or friends, whether they’re driving or walking over from the subway. You can’t miss the halogen glow of a gas station. I also like having an air pump nearby for my bike tires.
The BP Station has a small convenience store, but it doesn’t even sell milk. It’s just stocked with sodas, pre-packaged foods, and warm beer. If you like warm, frat-tastic beer, the BP station is the place for you! Also, I’m not really into frequenting places with a register behind bullet-proof glass. So if I need anything in the middle of the night, I’ll walk a little farther and go to a 24-hour deli.
I’ve never seen anything shady going down there. There’s always the same car parked in front, but I don’t know what that’s about. There’s a car service nearby, and they’re pretty impatient. They’ll honk if they’re waiting for a pump.
Oh, here’s a tip: Never cut across a gas station. Always walk around. Drivers -- especially vans, but really, all drivers -- trying to get close enough to a pump aren’t watching out for pedestrians. I was walking to the subway once and almost got hit.
People underestimate how many people in New York City still drive. There’s bumper-to-bumper traffic during rush hours, as people are filling up and driving to work. Like anywhere in the city, it can be annoying if you’re trying to get out of the city in a car yourself. Honestly, it makes me glad I don’t have a car anymore.
Overall though, I don’t give it much thought. I grew up in the suburbs where you had to drive to get anywhere. To me, gas stations are just a reality. They’re not some eyesore, and I’m not worried about the health hazards of living near one. I mean, I live in New York! Everything’s a health hazard.
And you can’t hate on the gas stations when the Gowanus Canal is two avenues away.