45 Years Ago, Large Part of New York State Plunges into Darkness
It was July 13th, 1977. New York City was in a bad place. Crime was rampant and a serial killer, known as the Son of Sam, was on the loose. Not to mention, NYC was in the middle of an intense heatwave.
A series of lightning strikes at a power plant in Westchester County caused almost the entire power grid of New York City to go offline. It happened around 8:30pm, engineers were scrambling to get power to the city but to no avail. That night, New York City had no power.
Again, it was an extremely tense time in the Big Apple and tensions boiled over into the streets. Looting and vandalism took over vast parts of the city.
Writer and producer Frank Beacham writes in his online journal about the conditions in one part of Brooklyn:
Thirty-five blocks of Broadway were destroyed: 134 stores looted, 45 of them set ablaze. Thieves stole 50 new Pontiacs from a Bronx car dealership. In Brooklyn, cars were backed up to targeted stores for looting.
Not only were neighborhoods in trouble, but travel in and out of the city via airplane was cut off since neither LaGuardia or JFK airports had any power.
Entire blocks in some boroughs of the city were almost destroyed as buildings were set on fire.
Power did not come back until the following morning around 7:30, but many other parts of the city were without power until the evening of July 14th.
After the 1977 blackout, certain safeguards were put in place to prevent something of this magnitude ever again. Regardless, blackouts have occurred in New York City since. One happened in August of 2003, another happened on the 43rd anniversary of the 1977 blackout in 2019, although only effecting the west side of Manhattan.
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