A power failure swept the west side of Manhattan on the evening of July 13th, at one point leaving more than 70,000 citizens without electricity. Power was restored to all customers just before midnight.
Officials say a transformer fire may have caused the outage at 6:47 p.m., plunging subway stations, Broadway theaters, and businesses in the heart of New York City into darkness. Traffic signals shut off, more than 400 elevators stalled trapping people inside, and the incandescent lights of Time Square dimmed. The power company, Con Edison, said the five-hour outage stemmed from a “disruption” that affected six Manhattan substations.
The outage stretched between Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River, and from 30th and 72nd streets. It occurred in a dense swath of Manhattan home to Times Square, the Theater District, and other major tourist attractions. Several Broadway shows were forced to cancel their evening performances due to the power loss.
The blackout crippled the subway system with disruptions in service between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. NYPD officers helped rescue some 2,800 straphangers who were stranded on trains stuck in tunnels. The roads fared no better with officials closing lanes of traffic in the influenced area. New Yorkers stepped in to help direct traffic, when the traffic lights blacked out.
42 Years Ago, On the Same Day…
In one of those bizarre coincidences that is almost too strange to be true, this blackout in Midtown Manhattan happened on the 42nd anniversary of the massive citywide power outage of 1977.
That blackout began around 9:30 p.m. on July 13, 1977, and power wasn’t restored for 25 hours. Unlike this outage—which was confined to one section of Manhattan—that blackout plunged much of the city into darkness.
The skyline went entirely dark, and the lights went out nearly everywhere: in the subways; at major transit hubs like Grand Central Terminal, stranding commuters; at places like Shea Stadium, where the teams were forced to stop a football game; and in many of the city’s neighborhoods. In some places—perhaps most memorably, Bushwick and parts of the Bronx—the extended power outage led to looting and instances of arson.
outage: n. 停电
straphanger: n. 乘客；通勤族
arson: n. 纵火