With public transportation so far-reaching in Manhattan on top of the arduous task of actually keeping a car in the city, gas stations aren’t places that most New Yorkers visit regularly. But for the city’s taxis and the few who do own cars, gas stations like the Mobil Station on Eighth Avenue and 13th Street in Greenwich Village—the last gas station below 14th Street—are their lifesavers.
Eight years ago, there were roughly 80 gas stations in Manhattan. These days, that number has dropped to about 50, reports Curbed. And it’s not that they’re going out of business, either.
Money is the cause (as it often is), but in the ever-changing landscape of Manhattan, deals that reach into the million-dollar range are made. Writes Curbed:
But with real estate prices so high and vacant land virtually nonexistent in Manhattan these days, things seem to have reached a tipping point. The BP on Houston Street was worth $100,000 four decades ago, but its land value is much greater now—as is its value as office space. In 2013, a Getty in Chelsea sold for $23.5 million and is now being converted into luxury condos. The Mobil that used to be down the street from Hondros’ station in the Meatpacking District sold for $60 million back in 2008, and was turned into an upscale retail outfit.
The Mobil station is run by a 28-year-old man named Athanasios Hondros. Everyone calls him Tommy. Tommy comes to work every day, jokes with his customers and is the friendly face behind the business.
He told Curbed that offers for his land come in weekly, offers for an alleged $50 or $60 million to buy the little triangle of property. He could easily accept that and live extremely comfortably for the rest of his life. Buy a couple of Lamborghinis. Call it a day.
But what keeps him going is mainly the enjoyment he gets from the job. The routine. Chatting with the regulars. “We’re staying open because we’re staying open,” he said. “Plus, if we shut down, where you gonna get gas at?”
Realistically, Brooklyn or Queens, probably. But that’s really far, especially if you’re downtown and running on fumes.