News recently came in that the Mobil gas station and car wash on the edge of the Meatpacking District has sold for $60 million. It's a deal that "will likely end with the land being cleared for 'numerous 1,500-foot storefronts,'" says Curbed. In other words, another luxury mall.
Gas stations are disappearing from Manhattan. We lost one when the Bowery Hotel went up. A Chelsea Exxon went to a big luxury development. Rumor has it the one across from Mars Bar will go. And I seriously have my doubts that the two Lukoil stations in the Chelsea area will last much longer, given what's going on around them (i.e., One Jackson Square and 245 10th Ave). And let's not forget the wonderful Gentle Touch "Whale of a Wash!" car wash and gas station that died for the big Adidas store on Houston.
There are plenty more, too. And while I'm not a fan of oil, I like gas stations for their smudgy, blue-collar existence, and their vanishing from the face of Manhattan is worth noting. So let's take a last look at the Meatpacking Mobil.
Prices to be frozen in time, perhaps sold to junk dealers, then resold and hung on a SoHo loft wall to be pointed to at a cocktail party and remarked upon with bored surprise, "Remember when gas was $3.09 a gallon?" Overhead, a crane hovers in the sky like a buzzard over the dying. (Oil) Change is coming.
Nearby, Balazs and the High Line Building show off their omnipotence. From the car wash bay, luxury cars pull out gleaming into the sunlight of another glorious day on Mount Olympus.
But where will all those Mercedes and SUVs go to get vacuumed, polished, and waxed before they climb into their Sky Garage elevators and tuck themselves into bed for the night? And where will we go to enjoy a sandwich hot off the grill with a bag of Funyuns while sitting at the window to watch the slip-slap of soapy mitters and the high-pressure foam of bug removal guns?
See all my Mobil photos