At around 7 p.m. on Saturday night, the lights went out in much of Midtown Manhattan.
Officials say a transformer fire likely caused the outage starting at 6:45 p.m., plunging subway stations, Broadway theaters, and businesses in the heart of New York City into darkness. Traffic signals shut off and the typically incandescent lights of Time Square and 42nd Street dimmed. At its peak, some 70,000 New Yorkers were without power, according to Con Edison.
Despite the fact that the power outage happened on a hot July day, New Yorkers seemed to mostly take things in stride: Though many Broadway shows ended up canceling their evening performances, members of those productions took to the streets to serenade passersby. Some people waded into traffic to direct cars after signals went dark. And unlike the blackout of 1977—which happened, coincidentally, 42 years ago today—the city largely remained calm.
Power is currently in the process of being restored to the affected neighborhoods (which include Midtown, Times Square, and the Upper West Side), but here’s what the scene looked like around the city as the outage began—and as the lights started to come back on.
Viewer photos from Dothan native Charles Sirmon of the power outage in Upper West Side/Midtown Manhattan- knocking out lights & subways, effecting over 42k customers including Lincoln Center, St.Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, and Columbus Circle. pic.twitter.com/X97KGEWVzP— Lisa Sacaccio (@lisasacaccio) July 14, 2019
Well this is something. Apparently there’s a blackout in midtown Manhattan. MSNBC is back on the air thanks to a backup generator, but most of 30 Rock is dark. Started feeling like I was in a post-apocalyptic movie as I made my way outside. (The streetlights are all out too) pic.twitter.com/WjOHp4Yp9D— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) July 13, 2019
They just cancelled second part of Harry Potter on Broadway due to power issues — tickets will be refunded .... pic.twitter.com/UgqF7U92wv— Ben Bell (@BenjaminBell) July 14, 2019
Fuuuuuuuuuuuck the blackout in NYC just hit my apartment pic.twitter.com/VIrbKBpfwQ— Krista Robertson (@Krista) July 14, 2019