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Manhattan power is back on hours later as governor calls outage unacceptable

The lights are back on in New York City after a partial blackout left sections of Manhattan in the dark for hours. According to Con Edison, the city's utility company, around 73,000 people were without power.

Posted: Jul 14, 2019 9:18 AM


Power was fully restored in New York early Sunday after an outage left parts of the city in darkness for hours, leaving thousands trapped in subway cars and elevators, and people guiding traffic at intersections.

The outage started Saturday evening and the lights were back on shortly after midnight, officials said. It mostly affected midtown Manhattan and parts of the Upper West Side. No injuries were reported.

People spilled out into the streets as lights suddenly dimmed at Broadway shows and speakers fell silent at Jennifer Lopez's concert. Even the flashing lights at the iconic Times Square went dark, leaving the area surrounded by the glow of cellphones taking photos of the surreal scene.

Lopez said she was disappointed she had to cancel her concert on her second night at the Madison Square Garden. She rescheduled it for Monday night.

"I'm devastated and heartbroken right now," she said. "I just don't even know what to say. ... Obviously it was beyond all our control."

When the lights flicked back on, crowds erupted into cheers in some places.

Hours of darkness

At the height of the outage, 72,000 customers were in the dark, utility company Con Edison said. It had given a preliminary number of 73,000 -- but lowered it early Sunday. Power started trickling back on just before 10 p.m., it said. Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked people to stay indoors despite the full restoration.

"While power has been restored, there are still some traffic signals that are out, so we would not encourage New Yorkers to go out if you don't have to go out," he said.

The governor said the outage is not an infrastructure issue. "We were lucky tonight," he added.

Cuomo described a power outage of this magnitude as unacceptable, and said he's called for a full investigation into the cause. He applauded residents for keeping their cool.

"This could have been much worse. When you're talking about a city like New York with a significant piece of the city, basically suffering a blackout, that could be a very chaotic situation. We saw the exact opposite, actually. We saw New Yorkers at their best."

Regular people direct traffic

Lake Escobosa, 23, spent nearly an hour directing traffic. The Brooklyn dancer guided cars, ambulances and pedestrians through a busy, three-way intersection near Lincoln Center on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

"I know how tricky it is when it comes to that intersection and I just saw in my mind car accidents, people getting hit, people screaming," she said. "So I felt like I should have just tried."

On Columbus Avenue, outside Fordham University's campus, brightly lit food carts illuminated the pitch black streets.

Others spill out onto the streets

The outage had a widespread effect on the New York subway system. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority warned people to stay away from underground stations and consider taking the bus.

The city's fire department responded to numerous transformer fires and rescued people trapped in elevators and subway cars.

Several Broadway and off-Broadway shows said they were canceling performances.

Cast members from Broadway musical "Come From Away" held an impromptu performance outside their darkened theater.

So did some Carnegie Hall performers. "After being trapped on the F for an hour because of the power outage, I emerged to see dark restaurants and traffic lights, civilians directing traffic and an evacuated Carnegie Hall concert happening in the street," Briallen Hopper tweeted.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was returning to the city after a presidential campaign stop in Iowa, said the outage appeared to be the result of a mechanical problem in the electrical grid.

"This appears to be something that just went wrong in the way that they transmit power from one part of the city to another," he said. "It sounds like it is addressable in a reasonable amount of time."

ConEd utility company CEO John McAvoy said the cause is still unclear. The company divides the electric system into a network that's roughly equivalent to neighborhoods, he said.

"It interrupted power to six networks. We expedited the recovery, performed an initial assessment of what was the most likely cause, isolated that equipment, inspected the other equipment to identify any obvious abnormalities," he added.

The outage comes 42 years to the day an extensive blackout left much of the city in darkness for 25 hours, leading to a crime rampage.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751526

Reported Deaths: 13799
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033281788
Lake557151010
Allen41710692
St. Joseph36998565
Hamilton36604417
Elkhart29413461
Tippecanoe22914227
Vanderburgh22559400
Porter19359326
Johnson18477389
Hendricks17689317
Clark13228195
Madison13158344
Vigo12625253
LaPorte12420221
Monroe12211176
Delaware10968198
Howard10337225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8577147
Bartholomew8172157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7812180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6972103
Morgan6765141
Dubois6221118
Marshall6211116
Cass6017110
Henry5902110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509176
Shelby501796
Lawrence4745122
Gibson445094
Clinton442755
Harrison441775
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438490
Whitley406643
Huntington403181
Steuben400259
Miami395269
Jasper388654
Knox376391
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White332253
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Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246136
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Jennings235349
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Starke228058
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Jay200932
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Pulaski120747
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Brown104243
Crawford102516
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Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109025

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287651467
Cuyahoga1158292211
Hamilton814131250
Montgomery525601043
Summit484401001
Lucas43364820
Butler39021606
Stark33339929
Lorain25679505
Warren24600303
Mahoning22378603
Lake21213388
Clermont20125253
Delaware18860136
Licking16664222
Fairfield16577204
Trumbull16555482
Medina15613271
Greene15284248
Clark14237306
Wood13293200
Portage13251215
Allen11914239
Richland11608211
Miami10850225
Wayne9147223
Columbiana9036230
Muskingum8907135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8651250
Marion8646138
Erie8057165
Ashtabula7162179
Hancock6999132
Ross6946161
Geauga6841151
Scioto6536106
Belmont6159174
Union584649
Lawrence5734102
Jefferson5680158
Huron5547122
Sandusky5443126
Darke5420129
Seneca5349128
Washington5320109
Athens524360
Auglaize502287
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4572112
Madison444466
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4040110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3856105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359865
Williams348278
Champaign344859
Guernsey325153
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285550
Hardin275465
Henry273467
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148540
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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