Less than a month after a similar episode although at a larger scale happened in almost the entire southern cone, a power cut hit New York for about four hours Saturday, affecting some 72,000 customers, in the city's western area and landmarks such as Times Square, causing havoc and unrest when metro lines and theatres came to a standstill.
The blackout, which occurred after 8:00 pm, local time, (00:00 GMT Sunday), in addition to affecting the normal functioning of the subway, left many citizens trapped in elevators and even part of the busy Times Square was left without its usual luminosity. The traffic lights did not work either.
Stores had to close and the Broadway shows were halted as most theatres canceled their functions, including Jennifer Lopez's show at Madison Square Garden.
The energy company Con Edison initially reported that some 42,000 customers were without electricity, a figure that later rose to 72,000, especially on the west side of Manhattan.
The Fire Department said on Twitter that the power failure extended from 72nd Street to 40th West and from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River.
After more than three hours of blackout, power returned gradually and by midnight Con Edison reported on Twitter that the service had been normalised.
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority reported subway lines A, C, F, D and M were mainly affected and that there was only a limited service on lines 1, 2 and 3 on the west side; lines 4, 5 and 6 on the east side; and line 7 between Manhattan and Queens.
Regarding the cause of the blackout, the Fire Department cited a transformer fire west of 64th Street. There was also smoke in several buildings on the west side, said NYFD, who responded to numerous cases of people trapped in elevators.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was on his presidential campaign in Iowa at the time of the blackout, but from there he spoke of a mechanical problem in the power supply system.
Con Edison CEO John McAvoy told a press conference that the supply failures were apparently due to a substation problem, which was later identified as being located on West 49th Street.
Saturday's blackout has happened on the same date as the great blackout of 1977, when all of New York City sank into darkness. It was a day of intense heat, so electricity consumption was triggered by air conditioners.
Police asked drivers Saturday night to avoid the area between 42nd and 74th streets west, between Fifth and 12th Avenues. At intersections, police and civilians worked together to direct traffic, while fire trucks and ambulances did their work.
Tens of millions of people across South America were without electricity on June 16 due to a massive power failure which left Argentina and Uruguay almost completely in the dark and affected parts of Paraguay, Brazil and Chile.
Top CommentsDisclaimer & comment rules
Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!