Power Returns After Manhattan Blackout Leaves 42,000 People Without Electricity, Darkens Times Square

The lights returned late Saturday

Last Updated: July 13, 2019 @ 8:54 PM

A major power outage hit Manhattan Saturday evening, hitting Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Upper West Side, subways and Broadway theaters. But power was almost completely restored by the end of the night.

A spokesman for electric company Con Edison said that more than 42,000 were without power as of 8 p.m. ET. A fire at an electricity transformer was the cause of the outage, Fire Department of New York officials said.

Con Edison said around 11 p.m. that it hoped to have all power restored by midnight. At about 11:30 p.m., the company said power had been restored to all but about 9,700 customers.

During the blackout, police were called in to assist with crowd control at Columbus Circle, and firefighters responded to reports of people trapped in elevators.

The blackout took place 42 years to the day after the massive July 13, 1977 power failure hit New York City, which was caused by lightning strikes in Westchester County. It triggered widespread looting and arson, and caused an estimated $310 million in damages.

The New York Times reported that Mayor Bill de Blasio, when asked if anything nefarious had happened, said that ConEd believed a mechanical issue was to blame. He was not in the blackout. He was in Iowa for his presidential campaign, the Times said.

According to the MTA, Saturday’s blackout caused disruptions on the A, C, D, E, F, M, 1, 2 and 3 train lines in Manhattan. Trains were rerouted due to the blackout, with several trains stuck between 47th-50th St. Rockefeller Center and the 57th St. station.

“Blackout at Rockefeller Center, NBC! We are running on generators!” NBC Universal editor Lydia Robertson tweeted early in the blackout.

Broadway productions including “The Cher Show,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Lion King,” “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “Hadestown”  were all canceled, while several other shows got a late start.

The AMC Lincoln Square 13 movie theater on the Upper West Side was evacuated, and according to Carissa Lawson,  morning anchor of News 12 New Jersey, no one was allowed in any theaters struck by the blackout.