NEW YORK (Reuters) – A large swath of New York’s Manhattan borough was plunged into darkness Saturday after a transformer explosion knocked out energy to subways, shops and Broadway theaters, however the metropolis’s essential utility mentioned it had restored most energy inside hours.
No deaths or accidents had been reported as a result of blackout, which officers mentioned started at 6:47 p.m. EDT (2247 GMT), and darkened a stretch of town from West 42nd Avenue to West 72nd Avenue. The outage occurred 42 years to the day from a serious 1970s blackout that sparked looting and rioting in the USA’ most populous metropolis.
“I simply flew over town and many of the lights are again on, that’s clear. Not the entire lights are again on, that’s additionally clear,” New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo instructed a information convention about 5 hours after the outage started. “It’s chaotic now on the West Aspect, definitely.”
By midnight, energy had been restored to many of the clients who had misplaced it, mentioned John McAvoy, chief government of utility Con Edison [CENY.UL]. Greater than 73,000 houses and companies misplaced energy, officers mentioned.
Shouts of celebration may very well be heard in components of Manhattan as energy was restored, bringing lights and air conditioners again to life.
The reason for the outage was unclear, McAvoy mentioned, including, “it doesn’t seem associated to extreme load.”
A Reuters witness reported listening to an explosion on the Higher West Aspect round 7 p.m. (2300 GMT), and a metropolis Hearth Division spokesman mentioned firefighters had been on the scene of a transformer hearth.
Sidewalks in Instances Sq. which can be normally crowded with vacationers on a balmy summer time Saturday evening had been overflowing as Broadway theaters canceled performances. The lights of close by Radio Metropolis Music Corridor had been darkish.
In an try and cheer up clients, the forged of the musical “Come From Away” carried out a music in entrance of the stage door. Different musicals’ forged members additionally staged street-side performances.
With site visitors lights out, automobiles and taxis jammed intersections as emergency autos and hearth engines with sirens blaring tried to move. In some locations, civilians stepped in to direct site visitors, together with one who employed a toy gentle saber.
New York has endured large-scale blackouts earlier than, most lately following Superstorm Sandy in 2012 in addition to the widespread 2003 blackout throughout the U.S. Northeast that left many of the metropolis with out energy for a day.
A New York blackout that crippled town throughout a warmth wave on July 13, 1977, sparked rioting and looting. Energy was not restored till the subsequent day.
‘ARE YOU OK?’
Reminiscences of the violence throughout the 1977 blackout spooked some vacationers visiting town, together with Dave and Dara Campbell, of Gilbert, Arizona.
“Folks from dwelling had been texting us, asking, ‘Are you OK?’” mentioned Dara Campbell, 40.
Cuomo despatched 100 State Law enforcement officials and a few Nationwide Guard troops to assist with site visitors management.
As darkness fell simply earlier than 9 p.m. (0100 GMT), individuals on the Higher West Aspect had to make use of their cell phone flashlights to barter usually brightly lit streets. There have been studies of individuals trapped in constructing elevators with out energy.
Subways all through town had been affected by the outage, with some traces skipping stations that lacked energy and even traces in different boroughs diverted.
Mayor Invoice de Blasio, who was in Iowa campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination when the outage struck, instructed CNN mentioned he had spoken with the police commissioner and the deputy commissioner liable for counterterrorism.
“From what we’re seeing at this second, that is merely a mechanical drawback,” de Blasio mentioned.
With some stations and site visitors lights darkish, many residents and guests alike took to the streets and walked, based on social media posts, a lot of which had the hashtag #blackoutnyc.
Rising from a subway station subsequent to Central Park, Jeff O’Malley, a marketing consultant who lives in Manhattan, mentioned he was caught in a subway automobile for greater than an hour.
“We had been caught for about 75 minutes,” mentioned O’Malley, 57. “It’s fully darkish. Folks had to make use of the flashlights on their telephones to see their manner out.”
Reporting by Maria Caspani, Robert MacMillan and Daniel Wallis, further reporting by Frank McGurty and Conway Gittens in New York, David Morgan in Washington, writing by Scott Malone; Modifying by Jonathan Oatis and Andrea Ricci