New York City Power Outage: Thousands Without Power In Midtown, Upper West Side On 42nd Anniversary of 1977 Blackout

A significant power outage is being reported in parts of Manhattan tonight.

• ConEdison estimates that over 42,000 New Yorkers are without power.

• The New York Police Department and New York Fire Department have reported a spike in calls as people are reporting being trapped in elevators and other issues. NYPD officials have asked units from other boroughs to respond.

• The outage has impacted Rockefeller Center in Midtown, as well as a portion of Times Square. Several subway stations also have lost power, prompting trains that are running to skip those stations until power can be restored.

• The outage arrives on the 42nd anniversary of the 1977 New York City Blackout.

New York City Blackout
At dawn, the Manhattan skyline shows no lights due to a power blackout, New York, New York, July 14, 1977. The photo was taken from Jersey City, New Jersey. Allan Tannenbaum/Getty

Media reports indicate that thousands are without power in parts of Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side.

According to ConEdison, which provides power for New York City and Westchester County, approximately 42,500 people have been impacted by the outage which the New York City Police Department says stretches from 5th Avenue to the Hudson River and West 40s to 72nd Street.

However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, tweeted to say that a manhole fire is responsible for the outage. De Blasio did not indicate where the fire occurred or if anyone was injured.

Posts to social media showed landmarks in the city without power, including Rockefeller Center, the Empire State building and parts of Times Square.

The Empire State Building and a portion of the New York skyline is dark amid a widespread power outage affecting parts of midtown Manhattan.

— ABC News (@ABC) July 14, 2019

Times Square still has some lights but one of the main fixtures is dark #blackout

— James Crugnale (@jamescrugnale) July 13, 2019

Here’s how we’re on TV for @NBCNightlyNews from 30 Rock in the midst of a blackout in parts of midtown Manhattan. Backup generators in one small studio. #Blackout

— Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) July 13, 2019

Times Square is down, i repeat, Times Square is down. This is not a drill!! #Blackout #NYC

— Sahid Abraham (@Sahid0) July 13, 2019

The Daily Beast reports that the source of the outage is a blown transformer at West End Avenue and West 64th Street, but neither ConEd, NYPD or NYFD have confirmed what caused the break in service.

"We are responding to extensive outages on the west side of Manhattan," said Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin told the New York Daily News. "It's equipment issues, and we are working to restore customers."

The outage also impacted the Columbus Circle, 47-50 Streets-Rockefeller Center, 34 Street-Hudson Yards, and 5th Avenue/53 Street subway stations, forcing passengers on trains at the time the power cut to be escorted through tunnels and dark stations by MTA employees.

While trains are still running despite the outage, the stations without power are being bypassed by trains until power is restored. Subway lines on both sides of Manhattan are running with limited service, and the affected stations are closed to the public.

59th street subway @CBSNewYork #Blackout

— Alice Gainer (@GainerTV) July 13, 2019

I guess this is what they call a New York moment. After being trapped on the F for an hour because of the power outage I emerged to see dark restaurants & traffic lights, civilians directing traffic, & an evacuated Carnegie Hall concert happening in the street. #nyc #Blackout

— Briallen Hopper (@briallenhopper) July 14, 2019

Saturday also marked the second night of Manhattanhenge, an event where the rising and setting sun aligns perfectly with the city's street grid. New York's May event was sidelined by rain and clouds, though Friday and Saturday's sunset was presented with clear views. Manhattanhenge began at 8:20 p.m. local time.

The outage also saw some Broadway shows cancel their Saturday evening performances, including Best Musical Tony winner Hadestown, Hamilton, Mean Girls and King Kong.

Another show forced to cancel, Come From Away, didn't let a lack of electricity stop them. The cast headed out on the street to perform a song from their show to a street full of people.

Impromptu performance #broadwayblackout @wecomefromaway

— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) July 14, 2019

The outage also forced the cancellation of Jennifer Lopez's concert at Madison Square Garden. The singer had performed three songs before the power went out and the show was stopped. Thousands attending the concert were evacuated.

Lopez later hopped onto Twitter to apologize to her fans, saying she is "heartbroken and devastated" that the show was stopped, but she promised to reschedule.

The power is out in NYC and at MSG. Heartbroken to say tonight’s show is cancelled. We will reschedule. Love you all!!! Stay safe! ❤️ #ItsMyPartyTour

— jlo (@JLo) July 14, 2019

Without traffic lights, some New Yorkers stepped in to help, as captured on social media.

#fruitstandguy is still alone directing traffic and no cops to be seen on Broadway and 66th Street at the #Blackout

— Scott Wilks (@wilkssc) July 14, 2019

How ironic that #fruitstandguy has to hold traffic so the cops can get through the intersection of 66th and Broadway since there are no cops directing traffic at the #Blackout

— Scott Wilks (@wilkssc) July 14, 2019

New Yorkers stepping in to direct traffic #nycpoweroutage @NY1

— Van Tieu (@Van_Tieu) July 14, 2019

The power outage comes on the 42nd anniversary of the 1977 Blackout which plunged most of New York City into two days of darkness. That outage was triggered by lightning strikes hitting two substations and came at a time where the city was already on edge by the Son of Sam serial murders.