Manhattan power outage: New York borough plunged into darkness

Chunk of island turned pitch-black in early hours

Andrew Naughtie
Friday 07 August 2020 12:47 BST
Manhattan plunged into darkness following power cut

A massive power cut has left much of upper Manhattan in darkness, with stunned residents sharing pictures and video of the pitch-black city.

In a statement, local energy provider Con Edison said it was trying to find the cause.

“We are investigating a problem on our transmission system that caused three networks in Manhattan to lose their electric supply at about 5:13 this morning,” it said. ”The supply has been restored to those networks on the Upper West Side, Harlem and the Upper East Side.”

Some 40,000 people were affected, with lights, cellphone services and some subway lines also hit before the power came back on.

When the blackout hit, Con Edison was already working hard to restore power to millions of people whose power supply was damaged by Tropical storm Isaias, which pummelled much of the east coast earlier this week.

Some 1.3 million people are still without electricity, making this the second largest outbreak in Con Edison’s history, topped only by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

The blackout that followed that storm similarly blacked out much of Manhattan, with only the Goldman Sachs building lit up thanks to its own backup systems.

New York’s most famous power outage was the famous blackout of July 1977, which saw the city cut off from electricity for more than 24 hours.

There was widespread looting and vandalism, with millions of dollars of damage, but many New Yorkers took to the streets in a more benign style, eating together outside and helping direct traffic.

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