A power outage struck the heart of Manhattan on the anniversary of a 1977 blackout— stranding passengers on subways, gridlocking drivers that had to navigate the streets without traffic lights and bringing the curtain down on Broadway shows.
The outage, which stretched 30 blocks from Times Square to the Upper West Side, left around 73,000 customers without power Saturday night for about four hours.
Con Edison CEO John McAvoy said a problem at a substation caused the 6:47 p.m. power failure. Electricity was restored to customers and businesses affected by the outage by around midnight, according to a statement from the utility.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 14, 2019
McAvoy said the exact cause of the blackout would not be known until an investigation is completed.
The outage stymied subway service throughout the city, affecting nearly every line. New York City’s Emergency Management Department said the A, C, D, E, F, M, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 trains had resumed running in both directions by around 2 a.m. Sunday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said no injuries were reported and praised emergency officials for their response to the blackout, which he called “unacceptable.”
“You just can’t have a power outage of this magnitude in this city” Cuomo said. “It is too dangerous, the potential for public safety risk and chaos is too high, we just can’t have a system that does that, it’s that simple at the end of the day.”
DEVELOPING: Reports of major power outage in midtown Manhattan – WNBC
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 13, 2019
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was campaigning on the presidential trail in Waterloo, Iowa, when the power outage struck. His press secretary, Freddi Goldstein, tweeted just before 10 p.m. that de Blasio cut short his Iowa visit and was headed back to the city.
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) July 14, 2019
The mayor commended New Yorkers for handling the blackout “with that trademark NYC grit and toughness” in a tweet.
The outage comes on the anniversary of the 1977 New York City outage that left most of the city without power.
Thousands of people crowded the streets Saturday evening, using their cellphones as flashlights while they tried to stay cool amid the humid July evening, where temperatures hit the low 80s.
For hours before the power flickered back on, doormen stood with flashlights in the darkened entrances of upscale apartment buildings along Central Park West, directing residents up flights of stairs. Police and deployed troopers directed traffic at intersections to the soundtrack of sirens and horns, while people in the neighborhood known as Hell’s Kitchen took it upon themselves to guide traffic in the absence of stoplights and walking signals.
We're getting reports of power outages in station complexes throughout Manhattan. We're working to identify causes and keep trains moving. More information to come.
— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) July 13, 2019