Broadway shows, restaurants see major losses from Midtown’s Saturday blackout

Con Ed says 5-hour blackout caused by faulty cable, protection system failure
July 16, 2019 09:00AM

The lights of The Hard Rock Cafes marquee are out during Midtown’s Saturday blackout (Credit: Getty Images)

The lights of The Hard Rock Cafes marquee are out during Midtown’s Saturday blackout (Credit: Getty Images)

Saturday is one of the busiest nights for Broadway theaters, and box offices took a major hit from this Saturday’s five-hour Midtown blackout, which led to 26 out of 30 Broadway shows being cancelled.

Broadway grosses for the past week were down $7 million – or nearly 20 percent – year over year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing trade group the Broadway League. Meanwhile, restaurants in the area saw tens of thousands of dollars in losses and were forced to throw out food for fear of spoilage. And some believe things could have been much worse.

“This is Russian roulette, you know? People can die,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview on WNYC-FM on Monday, criticizing Con Edison for its handling of the incident. The governor has called for a state investigation of the blackout.

The state-regulated utility says that the outage, which affected 72,000 metered customers, was caused by a faulty cable at West 64th Street which protection systems failed to isolate.

Businesses that suffered losses due to the blackout may not be covered by their insurance policies, which often don’t apply until after a certain period of time, such as 24 hours, from the beginning of a service interruption.

Another option for businesses may be to seek damages from Con Edison. “Anyone can file a claim — residential, commercial or anybody,” Con Ed spokesman Philip O’Brien said. However, these claims are often also subject to outage period restrictions. [WSJ] – Kevin Sun