A power failure occurs in West Side of Manhattan into darkness on Saturday night, trapping people in subway vehicles and elevators for a time, leaving drivers to fend for themselves at intersections with no traffic signals and eerily dimming the lights in a swath of Times Square.
Stores emptied, and Broadway shows did not go on: Most theatres cancelled their performances. In restaurants and bars, people drank by the glow of their smartphones.
But the lights — and, on a heat Saturday night time in midsummer, the air conditioning and fans that hold individuals aloof — began to return about 10 p.m. Power was restored by midnight, with cheers ringing out on the streets in response.
Con Edison said that the power failed at 6:47 p.m. and that 73,000 customers were in the dark for at least three hours, mainly on the West Side. The blackout stretched from 72nd Street to the West 40s, and from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River.
Con Edison said the failure stemmed from a problem at a substation on West 49th Street and affected six power sectors.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was more specific, saying the failure started with an explosion and fireplace at a substation that induced other substations to “lose power and malfunction.”
John McAvoy, Con Edison’s chairman and chief government, suggested it was a mechanical failure but emphasized that the utility would not know the cause until an investigation was completed.
After a while, a backup generator kicked in, and the lights got here on. Minutes after that, an excessive-pitched chime sounded, and the audience was informed to depart.