There Are Only 32 Retail Gas Stations Left In Manhattan

Every day, new people arrive in New York City, and those people need housing. In response to that demand, developers in Manhattan have been busy knocking down old buildings and putting up new ones. One casualty of that real estate boom? Gas stations, which have become increasingly rare in recent years.

An Endangered Species

The New York Times noted in 2016 that the pace of development had accelerated, wiping 30 gas stations off the map since 2008. At that time, only 50 were open to the public on the island of Manhattan.

Their numbers continue to dwindle: According to data from the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, there are now only 32 retail gas stations open as of last year.

Here are the stations that were inspected by the department last year — some of those may no longer be open if they were sold before the end of 2016:

Business Name Address
10TH AVENUE PETROLEUM LLC 466 10TH AVE
117 MORNINGSIDE INC. 355 W. 124TH ST
145TH STREET AUTO CENTER INC. 150 W. 145TH ST
155TH STREET AUTO CENTER INC 3740 BROADWAY
174 UPTOWN INC 4116 BROADWAY
1ST & 96TH MANAGEMENT INC. 1855 1ST AVE
30TH STREET SERVICE STATION INC. 309 11TH AVE
ACCEDE INC. 255 E 125TH ST
ATLAS GARAGE INC. 303 W 96TH ST
BEST SERVICE STATION INC. 2157 AMSTERDAM AVE
BISMA MOBIL SERVICE STATION INC. 718 11TH AVE
BROADWAY S/S INC 4275 BROADWAY
CITY FUELS LLC 4353 BROADWAY
CITY PETRO SERVICE CENTER INC. 232 W. 145TH ST
EAST SIDE AUTO SERVICES INC. 348 E 106TH ST
EASTSIDE GASOLINE CORP 1890 PARK AVE
FIRST AVE & 117TH ST INC. 2276 1ST AVE
FUTURE SERVICE STATION INC 1599 LEXINGTON AVE
GOALS SERVICE STATION INC 3260 BROADWAY
HOUSTON SERVICE STATION LLC 21 E HOUSTON ST
INWOOD AUTO SERVICE CORP 4880 BROADWAY
JR AUTO SERVICE CORP 89 SAINT NICHOLAS PL
JTE SERVICE STATION, INC. 242 DYCKMAN ST
KALISH & KERNER PETROLEUM LLC 2420 FDR DR
NAGLE FUEL CORP 265 NAGLE AVE
RIVERDEAL OPERATING CORP. 5080 BROADWAY
SPEEDWAY LLC 401 W 207TH ST
SPEEDWAY LLC 120 W. 145TH ST
SRM FUEL CORP. 3936 10TH AVE
STATION 800 LLC 800 SAINT NICHOLAS AVE
UPTOWN SERVICE STATION CORP. 2326 1ST AVE
WEST MOBIL ON 8TH INC 63 8TH AVE

What’s There Instead?

So where have all the gas stations gone? Curbed has a great interactive map showing what each former fuel location has been turned into, from developments that mostly include apartment complexes, condominiums, shopping centers, and office buildings.

To that end, if you need a place to live, this map might be helpful in finding an apartment.

Some simply sit empty and unused, waiting to be turned into a tall glass building filled with people who probably don’t have cars. And if they do, they may have a tough time finding a gas station to fuel it up.

For more on the ghosts of gas stations in NYC, head on over to Curbed.

Stream a 24 Hour Playlist of Charles Dickens Stories, Featuring Classic Recordings by Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles & More

Children, cast off your fingerless mitts and gather round the mercifully cold hearth for some old timey, seasonally inappropriate listening.

Spotify has pulled together 67 Charles Dickens audio classics into a massive playlist for your summertime listening enjoyment–nearly 24 hours worth. That should last the long cross-country drive to see grandma.

Big gorillas like Oliver Twist and Great Expectations figure prominently. Sir Laurence Olivier, preparing to step into the part of Mr. Micawber, calls David Copperfield “a novel which I think must be almost the most famous ever written.”

Still true half a century later? Immaterial. Olivier’s use of “I think” and “almost” leaves room enough for a sort of genial, general agreement.

Some of the introductions give unintentionally hilarious added value, such as host Frank Craven’s attempt to contextualize a Lux Radio Theater presentation starring Orson Welles as Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities excerpt. The author’s work was often published in serial form, he tells listeners:

Records tell us of how crowds thronged the wards of New York City to receive news of their favorite heroine or hero. For already, the names of Dickens’ characters were household words, as much, I imagine, as Lux Toilet Soap is a household word throughout America today, and for very much the same reason–the ability to find approval among people of all kinds of ages and every walk of life, not only among women who are anxious to preserve their loveliness but with every member of the family, young and old. Lux Toilet Soap is quick to make friends and to keep them. 

How disappointed the sponsors must’ve been that in the whole of A Tale of Two Cities, there’s not a single reference to soap. (For the record, Oliver Twist has one and David Copperfield has two…)

Lesser known treats include Emlyn Williams, a Welsh actor who spent three decades performing as Dickens in a touring solo show, reading “Mr. Chops,” a tale of a circus dwarf, ill used by society. Dickens himself performed the story on his popular lecture tours. More recently actor Simon Callow mined it for a one man show. Sturdy material.

The 24-hour playlist (the first one above) will be added to our list of Free Audio Books. If you need to download Spotify’s free software, grab it here.

Related Content:

An Animated Introduction to Charles Dickens’ Life & Literary Works

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Charles Darwin & Charles Dickens’ Four-Hour Work Day: The Case for Why Less Work Can Mean More Productivity

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Stream a 24 Hour Playlist of Charles Dickens Stories, Featuring Classic Recordings by Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles & More is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The Ultimate Playlist Of Banned Wedding Songs

A year ago, we linked to FiveThirtyEight’s Ultimate Wedding Playlist, featuring the most requested songs to be played at weddings. But every bride and groom who hires a DJ has a song or two, or more, or an artist, or an entire genre that they ask specifically not be played. Those songs have been compiled in a new list, and the ones that rose to the top are perfectly understandable.

Oddly enough, a few songs on this list are the MVPs from last year’s list! “Happy,” “Shout” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” are just a few of the most popular songs that also appear on DJs’ rosters of banned songs. Either those songs have gone out of style overnight, or, more likely, their popularity has made them polarizing. If you’re making demands of a DJ, you don’t need to ask him or her to avoid playing Bulgarian death metal — that’s probably a given — but you need to speak up about “Single Ladies” now or it’s going to get a rotation.

Read more about songs banned from wedding playlists and see a longer version of the song list at FiveThirtyEight.  

Home Assistant Calls 911 During Domestic Dispute

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department in New Mexico responded to an emergency call Sunday night that was placed by a home assistant device, believed to be Amazon Echo’s Alexa. A crisis negotiation team and a SWAT team were also sent to the home after the deputies assessed the situation.

Eduardo Barros was house-sitting with his girlfriend and her daughter Sunday night at a residence in Tijeras, some 15 miles east of Albuquerque. The couple got into an argument and the altercation became physical, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff Department’s spokesperson, Deputy Felicia Romero.

Barros allegedly wielded a firearm and threatened to kill his girlfriend, asking her: “Did you call the sheriffs?” A smart speaker, which was hooked up to a surround sound system inside the home, recognized that as a voice command and called 911, Romero said.

The woman, who suffered injuries, was traced from the home with her uninjured daughter. Barros was arrested after a standoff lasting several hours. Sheriff’s officers were not sure what kind of device had called 911. Google doesn’t support phone calls, and Amazon doesn’t support calling 911. 

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office can confirm the existence of a call because, Deputy Romero told us, the line was left open and, in addition to the fighting the victim can be overheard in the background saying, “Alexa, call 911,” seemingly unaware that a call had already been made and that calling 911 isn’t enabled on Amazon Echo devices.

We may never know exactly how (or if) Alexa made that call, but one thing is clear, the digital act may have saved someone’s life.

-Thanks, hearsetrax!

(Image credit: FASTILY)

80-Person Human Chain Rescues Ten from Riptide

Two young boys, Noah and Stephen Ursrey, were caught in a dangerous riptide off the beach in Panama City, Florida, on Saturday. Several beachgoers went out to retrieve them and were also caught by the current. Four members of the boys’ family also went out and were unable to return. Other beachgoers took things into their own hands and formed a human chain of around 80 people to reach the stranded swimmers. Jessica Simmons and her husband Derek swam out to the end of the chain to reach the Ursrey family and the others.   

As Simmons paddled, the human chain grew, with 80 people stretching over 100 yards out to the distressed swimmers. Some of them couldn’t swim, Simmons said, but wanted to help and stayed in the shallows. Others stood in water up to their necks, waiting for Simmons and her husband to cover the last few feet so they could pass the swimmers to shore.

“I got to the end, and I know I’m a really good swimmer,” Simmons said. “I practically lived in a pool. I knew I could get out there and get to them.”

What Simmons found at the end of the human chain, she said, was shocking. Ursrey’s mother was exhausted, her eyes were rolling back and Simmons remembered her “drinking so much water” and “telling us to just let her go and save us.” Everyone was exhausted, the waves knocking them under. One by one, starting with the children, Simmons and her husband, along with a few other rescuers, towed the swimmers to the human chain, who then pulled them all to shore.

All ten people were pulled out of the water, and the human chain retreated together. Barbara Ursrey, the boys’ grandmother, suffered a heart attack and was taken to a hospital where she is recovering.

11,700 Free Photos from John Margolies’ Archive of Americana Architecture: Download, Use & Re-Mix

Many connoisseurs of architecture are enthralled by the modernist philosophy of Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and I M Pei, who shared a belief that form follows function, or, as Wright had it, that form and function are one.

Others of us delight in gas stations shaped like teapots and restaurants shaped like fish or doughnuts. If there’s a philosophy behind these insistently playful visions, it likely has something to do with joy…and pulling in tourists.

Art historian John Margolies (1940-2016), responding to the beauty of such quirky visions, scrambled to preserve the evidence, transforming into a respected, self-taught photographer in the process. A Guggenheim Foundation grant and the financial support of architect Philip Johnson allowed him to log over four decades worth of trips on America’s blue highways, hoping to capture his quarry before it disappeared for good.

Despite Johnson’s patronage, and his own stints as an Architectural Record editor and Architectural League of New York program director, he seemed to welcome the ruffled minimalist feathers his enthusiasm for mini golf courses, theme motels, and eye-catching roadside attractions occasioned.

On the other hand, he resented when his passions were labelled as “kitsch,” a point that came across in a 1987 interview with the Canadian Globe and Mail:

People generally have thought that what’s important are the large, unique architectural monuments. They think Toronto’s City Hall is important, but not those wonderful gnome’s-castle gas stations in Toronto, a Detroit influence that crept across the border and polluted your wonderfully conservative environment.

As Margolies foresaw, the type of commercial vernacular architecture he’d loved since boyhood–the type that screams, “Look at me! Look at me”–has become very nearly extinct.

And that is a maximal shame.

Your children may not be able to visit an orange juice stand shaped like an orange or the Leaning Tower of Pizza, but thanks to the Library of Congress, these locales can be pitstops on any virtual family vacation you might undertake this July.

The library has selected the John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive as its July “free to use and reuse” collection. So linger as long as you’d like and do with these 11,700+ images as you will–make postcards, t-shirts, souvenir placemats.

(Or eschew your computer entirely–go on a real road trip, and continue Margolies’ work!)

Whatever you decide to do with them, the archive’s homepage has tips for how to best search the 11,710 color slides contained therein. Library staffers have supplemented Margolies’ notes on each image with subject and geographical headings.

Begin your journey through the Library of Congress’ John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive here.

We’d love to see your vacation snaps upon your return.

Related Content:

Watch Stewart Brand’s 6-Part Series How Buildings Learn, With Music by Brian Eno

Frank Lloyd Wright Designs an Urban Utopia: See His Hand-Drawn Sketches of Broadacre City (1932)

A is for Architecture: 1960 Documentary on Why We Build, from the Ancient Greeks to Modern Times 

Watch 50+ Documentaries on Famous Architects & Buildings: Bauhaus, Le Corbusier, Hadid & Many More

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

11,700 Free Photos from John Margolies’ Archive of Americana Architecture: Download, Use & Re-Mix is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Here’s How To Get Your $5 Drone Registration Fee Refund From The FAA

Did you pay $5 to register your drone with the Federal Aviation Administration? Now that an appeals court has overturned the agency’s rule requiring hobbyist drone operators to register their aircraft, you can get your money back and remove your name from the federal database.

If you registered a model aircraft that you fly for fun and not to make money, you can fill out a request form [PDF] and mail it to the FAA at the address designated on the form.

You can expunge your name from the database and get your $5 back, or you can have it removed and let the FAA keep the money, though it’s unclear why anyone would do that.

In May, the FAA said that since drone registration first started in Dec. 2015, more than 820,000 people have registered. Multiply that by $5 per submission, and the agency could have raked in at least $4 million in fees, which includes commercial drone. Some of that money, however, is from commercial drone registrations, which are still required.

The agency is still encouraging folks to voluntarily register their unmanned aircraft. Once the law that the appeals court says the FAA violated — Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) [PDF] — expires in September, you may find yourself forking over that $5 again if Congress decides to allow the agency to require registration again.