It’s rare to catch New York City, the so-called “city that never sleeps,” at rest. Not even Saturday evening’s blackout put damper on the bustling city’s energy.
The widespread power outage left a big chunk of Manhattan’s midtown without lights, affecting streets west of Fifth Avenue from 42nd St. all the way up to 72nd St. It happened at around 7:00 p.m. ET, and — in a completely wild twist — fell on the 42nd anniversary of the city’s 1977 blackout.
Before it was all over, the Saturday blackout eventually extended down as far as 12th St. The lights started to come back on at around 10:00 p.m. ET, first in Times Square and, by midnight, through all parts of the affected area.
Happening as it did during the primetime evening hours, numerous shows, performances, and other cultural events were canceled. Some lucky Broadway visitors were treated to impromptu performances in the streets, but the evening’s biggest events — including a Jennifer Lopez concert at Madison Square Garden — were called off.
The disruption crippled New York City’s mass transit infrastructure, with subway lines that converge in the busiest part of the city effectively shut down. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wasn’t in NYC for the blackout because he was out hyping his deeply unpopular presidential campaign, noted on Twitter that the issue originated with a manhole fire.
Even with all the disruptions, New York’s always-connected city-dwellers seized the opportunity to capture one of those rare moments when the bustling city continues to bustle even in the midst of setbacks. It’s all recorded on social media, and so wild to see.
There were the eerily quiet and empty subway stations.
Some people, trapped underground in stalled subway cars, used emergency exits to get out and follow the tracks to nearby stations. (Protip: don’t ever ever do that!)
The underground transit disruptions sent subway commuters scrambling for the streets. Canceled shows and other events only added to the crowds. The sidewalks of midtown Manhattan quickly became congested with foot traffic.
The outage happened so suddenly that regular folks had to help out until emergency personnel could arrive on scene. This one guy directing traffic with his cane wins at New Yorkerness.
Jennifer Lopez felt especially bad about having to call off her MSG show a mere 20 minutes in. The blackout hit right in the middle of a performance.
Lopez recorded multiple videos for her fans, apologizing for the disruption and promising a re-do for the canceled performance. It looks like the Saturday show has been rescheduled for Monday night.
Ticketmaster and LiveNation will have details on their websites in the morning!!! pic.twitter.com/ILnLhVVe59
— Jennifer Lopez (@JLo) July 14, 2019
All in all, it was a busy and eventful night even for the city that never sleeps. You definitely don’t see sights like this every day.