A power outage stretched throughout the West Side of Manhattan into darkness, Saturday night. Leaving people trapped in subway carts and elevators for a long time, having drivers fend for themselves at intersections with no traffic signals.
Stores were emptied out and Broadways shows did not go on because most theaters had cancelled their performances. In restaurants and bars, customers drank by the glow of their smartphones.
The lights and power began to return around 10 p.m.. By midnight, the power all over town was restored.
According to Con Edison, the power outage began around 6:47 p.m. and left about 73,000 people in the dark for at least three hours, especially on the West Side. The blackout stretched from 72nd street to the West 40s, and from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River.
Con Edison stated that the power outage started from a problem at a substation on West 49th street and affected six power sectors. Company chairman and chief executive, John McAvoy, suggested it was a mechanical failure but indicated that the utility would not know the cause until an investigation was completed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo gave more detail and stated the power failure started with an explosion and a fire at a substation that then caused other substations to lose power and malfunction.
Once we get past the emergency, then I want to know what the heck happened,” Mr. Cuomo told WABC-TV, “because this is not the first time we have had a substation issue.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was campaigning in Iowa for his presidential bid, ruled out terrorism or criminal activity.
Con Edison customers “expect to have a system that contemplates, anticipates and prevents foreseeable occurrences,” he said.
The blackout happened on the same date as the large power failure in 1977, plunging the city into darkness. Times Square, a place that is usually filled with tourists, crowds, and bright lights, was dark and traffic lights were out.