How was Times Square in 1977

Manhattan in the dark after a power failure

The power went out around 7:00 p.m. local time (2:00 a.m. CEST), especially in Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side. The energy supplier Con Edison spoke on the short message service Twitter of "significant" malfunctions, but around midnight local time these were resolved again. Around 70,000 people were affected.

In the world-famous Times Square at the intersection with Broadway in Manhattan, the otherwise glowing display boards were dark, traffic lights went out, elevators stopped. The New York Fire Department had to free numerous people who were stuck in the elevator. The subway stopped operating for some stations, and numerous shops closed earlier. There were no reports of accidents or injuries, according to a report by the US broadcaster CNN on Sunday night.

Shows moved to the streets

The Rockefeller Center in the center of Manhattan with its 19 high-rise buildings and up to 70 floors was also affected by the power failure. According to the US media, cinema-goers suddenly found themselves in the dark, several shows had to be canceled on Broadway, and artists offered spontaneous appearances in front of the entrance. A concert at Carnegie Hall was canceled, the hall was cleared, and later the show simply continued outdoors in front of the building.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke of a "mechanical problem" in the power grid as the reason for the blackout. The failure was not due to outside interference, he wrote on Twitter. "That seems like something that just went wrong with distributing electricity from one part of the city to another," he later told CNN.

Looting, vandalism, fires in July 1977

As to the possible cause, it was said that the fault in the network could have been triggered by a fire or a subsequent explosion in an underground transformer. Several transformer fires were mentioned in other reports. On Sunday morning, however, there was still no clarity about this at Con Edison.

The current power failure occurred exactly on the 42nd anniversary of the "New York City Blackout" from July 13th to 14th, 1977, when almost the entire US metropolis was suddenly dark. The initial trigger was a lightning strike in a substation, after which the high-voltage network gradually failed. The event struck New York in the midst of the then financial crisis that hit the city from 1975 onwards. The consequences were fatal: it was looted, shops were destroyed, fires started. In total there were looting in almost 1,700 shops, over 1,000 fires and almost 3,800 arrests were counted. It took more than a day to restore power.

The legend of 1965

A major power outage occurred in New York as early as 1965, another followed in 2003. At that time, the network collapsed in large parts of the USA and Canada, affecting millions of people, but there were only isolated cases of looting. But a legend, allegedly brought into the world by the "New York Times", says that nine months after the blackout a noticeable number of babies were born.

The 2003 power outage was the “Northeast Blackout”, which affected the Northeast and Midwest of the United States and the Ontario region in Canada. In some areas it took up to two days for the energy supply to work again. The cause at the time was a software breakdown. On November 4, 2006, it suddenly became dark in large parts of Europe from Germany to Austria to Spain, and an estimated ten million households were affected. In mid-June, the power went out in large parts of South America.