Saturday is the 42nd anniversary of the July 13-14, 1977 New York City blackout, which took out power to most of the city, resulted in widespread civil disturbances and looting, and helped usher in an era of noxious “tough on crime” politics. Another blackout struck NYC today, though this one appears to be restricted to parts of Manhattan and the primary concern appears to be rescuing people trapped in elevators.
According to CBS New York, neighborhoods confirmed to have been affected include the Theater District, Hell’s Kitchen, and the Upper West Side. Street lights are out and several metro stations are dark, CBS added, while there are reports of individuals trapped in elevators (one tweet from a Twitter user purported to depict just that). The Con Edison outage map showed over 45,000 customers without electricity, per NBC.
The New York Daily News reported that the cause is currently believed to be a “transformer explosion and fire around W. 64th St. and West End Ave” (alternately described as a “manhole explosion on 65th Street and West End Avenue,” per CBS) around 6:55 p.m. ET.
Some photos, per Twitter:
The eastern half of Times Square appeared to lose power to billboards, though social media posts showed the western half is still online:
Other tweets appeared to show bystanders (or possibly officers in plainclothes) taking it upon themselves to direct traffic, as lights were out:
Transit authorities said that Con Edison was working to restore power, although subway service into the city was severely disrupted.
Hopefully this will all be resolved soon with no physical harm to anyone. But in the meantime, we advise New Yorkers to avoid what could be a big headache and steer clear of the affected areas, if possible.