A widespread power outage in the heart of Manhattan on Saturday shut down some of the city’s subways as iconic parts of midtown, including Times Square and Rockefeller Center, went dark.
Con Edison said it was working to restore power to 73,000 customers, mostly on the west side of Manhattan. The utility tweeted at 10:12 that power was being restored to affected customers, and that the utility expected to have service restored to most customers by midnight. Some reports, including from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, said that as many as 62,000 were affected by the outage.
Saturday’s outage took place on the anniversary of a 1977 New York City outage in which most of the city lost power. The city was also part of massive power outage in 2003.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was campaigning for president in Iowa on Saturday, tweeted that the police and fire departments and other city agencies were working to respond a manhole fire that caused the outage. The New York City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, said on Twitter that there was a major disturbance at Con Edison’s 49th Street substation, and that the utility was working to fix it.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the outage started at 6:47 p.m., the Associated Press reported.
Pizza shops on the Upper West Side were still selling lukewarm slices in the dark with flashlights, cash only. In the Park Central Hotel, at least 100 guests were sitting on the ground in the lobby in candlelight. At the Wellington Hotel across the street, guests filed out in the dark holding glow sticks and gathered on the sidewalk.
Horse-driven buggies were still clucking around in the blackout, aggressively recruiting riders as Uber prices surged.
The streets outside Carnegie Hall were dark, aside from car lights and a mobile hot dog stand. Some teenagers from Idaho and Texas who came to watch a concert at Carnegie Hall instead volunteered to hold glow sticks and direct traffic in the absence of stoplights.
“No one was listening to [the traffic director], so we just decided to step up and start directing people to that sidewalk,” said Kadyn Potocki, 14, who lives in Dallas.
Potocki was here for a concert for Millennial Choirs & Orchestras with Jennica Reynolds, 44, of Middleton, Idaho.
“It appears that this is not a common thing,” said Reynolds, who was traveling with her 15-year-old daughter, who sang in the hall last night. “We have blackouts in Idaho all the time, so we like to jump in and help.”
New York’s Subway tweeted that there were outages at underground stations that were limiting transportation from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens into Manhattan. Passengers were urged to uses buses and avoid underground stations.
The New York Fire Department said that the loss of power was from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River, and from 72 Street to the West 40s.