Power restored after blackout envelops West Side of Manhattan

Con Edison says the power failure began at 6:47 p.m. and affected 73,000 customers  

TRD New York /
Jul.July 14, 2019 10:30 AM

Power was restored after a blackout enveloped the West Side of Manhattan. (Credit Gabriela Bhaskar | New York Times)

A power outage Saturday night on the West Side of Manhattan dimmed the bright lights of Times Square, knocked out traffic signals at intersections and temporarily trapped people in elevators and subway cars.

Most theaters canceled performances of Broadway shows, and patrons illuminated darkened bars and restaurants with the glow of their cell phones as they drank and dined.

Electrical power started to return around 10 p.m. and was fully restored by midnight.

Con Edison said the power failure began at 6:47 p.m. and affected 73,000 customers for at least three hours, primarily on the West Side of Manhattan from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River and from 72nd Street to the west 40s.

The electric utility company said the power failure appeared to stem from a substation on West 49th Street, and the impact spread to six power sectors.

Con Edison chairman and CEO John McAvoy said the cause of the power outage may have been mechanical failure but said the cause would remain unknown until the utility finishes investigating the incident.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said an explosion and a fire at a substation led to malfunctioning and a loss of power at other substations.

While campaigning in Iowa, presidential candidate and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said neither terrorism nor criminal activity caused the power outage.

Civilians and police officers combined their efforts to direct traffic at intersections.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the power outage affected New York City’s entire subway system.

Ellie Shanahan, 23, told the New York Times that the darkened intersections were shocking, but “people seemed to know what to do. Everyone was being polite, even though there were no lights to tell us when to go.”

Theaters canceled performances of such Broadway shows as “Aladdin,” “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” “Hadestown” and “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”

Outside some theaters, performers gave impromptu performances on sidewalks. Cast members of “Waitress,” “Hadestown” and “Come From Away” sang songs from their shows.

Carnegie Hall canceled all performances Saturday night, and Lincoln Center canceled a performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Madison Square Garden canceled a performance by recording artist Jennifer Lopez after the building lost power during her fourth song.

The power outage Saturday night happened exactly 42 years after the longer-lasting 1977 blackout in New York City. [New York Times]Mike Seemuth

Related Articles

40 East 72nd Street (Credit: Google Maps)

Nightmare on E. 72nd Street raises question: Are small condos risky?

Jed Garfield of Leslie J. Garfield; Richard Grossman, president of Halstead Real Estate; Sarah Saltzberg, principal broker and CEO of Bohemia Realty Group; Douglas Elliman’s Howard Lorber

NYC brokers slam bias, promise action after Newsday exposé

The bombshell probe also found that minorities had to meet more stringent financial qualifications than white buyers. (Credit: iStock)

LI agents routinely discriminate against minority buyers, undercover probe finds

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son (Credit: Getty Images)

SoftBank’s $3B payout to WeWork’s investors is delayed

Zillow CEO Rich Barton (Credit: iStock)

Zillow and Opendoor aren’t making much on home-flipping

John Legere (Credit: Getty Images)

WeWork reportedly in talks to hire T-Mobile exec as CEO

This week, the State Department of Taxation and Finance issued a new memo that notably made no mention of condos. (Credit: iStock)

Regulators quietly change stance on condos in LLC law

Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider (Credit: iStock)

Realogy’s plan to stop the iBuyers from gaining a foothold in Chicago