Home / Entertainment / The big blackout of 1977 in New York occurred 42 years ago today.

The big blackout of 1977 in New York occurred 42 years ago today.



In one of those bizarre coincidences that is almost too strange to be true, the power outage that affected a large band of Midtown Manhattan on Saturday occurred on the 42nd anniversary of the massive power outage in the city in 1977.

This breakdown began around 21:30. July 13, 1977 and the current was not restored before 25 hours. Unlike the weekend break – which was limited to a part of Manhattan (even though it is one of the most affected by the trade) – this failure plunged much of the city in darkness.

The skyline was completely darkened and the lights went out everywhere: in the subway; in major transit centers such as the Grand Central Terminal, travelers in distress; at places like Shea Stadium, where the Mets were forced to stop a game against the Chicago Cubs in the sixth inning; and in many parts of the city. In some places – perhaps even the most memorable, Bushwick and parts of the Bronx – the prolonged power outage has led to looting and arson.


Shea Stadium during the 1977 power outage.
Photo of Vic DeLucia / New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images


A view of 34th Street during the 1977 power outage.
Photo of NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

This was caused by stress on the system after a series of storms in Westchester County, but "human and mechanical error," according to the New York Times, exacerbated the problem.

The consequences of the 1977 outage were felt long after the lights came back: the blackout cost the city more than $ 300 million, directly and indirectly. In neighborhoods affected by burnt buildings or looting, the recovery process has been slow. In some places, it took years to recover. And the power outage led Con Edison to "move[] to avoid the mistakes that led to the blackout, adding sophisticated monitoring equipment and altering the erroneous procedures that caused the public acrimony and thousands of lawsuits, some of which are still pending "Said one New York Times article of 1987.


The skyline seen from Brooklyn during the 1977 power outage.
AP Photo / Ray Stubblebine

It remains to be seen what will be the impact of the weekend outage, but fortunately it has not spread all over the city and some of the lights are already lighting up.


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