The 50th Anniversary of The Great Northeastern Blackout

Shamarie By Shamarie, 10th Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2prxok17/
Posted in Wikinut>News>World

At the height of rush hour, on November 9, 1965, several northeastern states and parts of Canada were hit with a power outage that lasted up to 13 hours and affected more than 30 million people.

A City of Darkness

Fifty years ago yesterday, on November 9, 1965, at 5:27 p.m. in the peak of the evening rush hour, a blackout struck New York with a fury. Hundreds of thousands of commuters became trapped in train cars. Grand Central became a temporary sanctuary for commuters who could not get home. Many people in office buildings and high-rises were stranded in elevators that became a horrific experience for them. The bright lights of Broadway and Times Square flickered off. The city’s iconic skyline darkened like soulless architecture. Brownstones on city’s blocks lost life too. Traffic was motionless and airplanes were forced to divert. New York City became the city of darkness. It was the first time the United States had seen a blackout of such large proportion.

It was soon established that a power failure that originated at a Canadian station near Niagara Falls caused the blackout, which left most of the Northeast section of the United States and parts of Canada without power for hours. The massive blackout affected approximately thirty million people. This was the first across-the-board realization of infrastructure worries that would eventually resurface in major blackouts in New York City in the years 1977 and 2003.

New Yorkers stayed resilient and calmed. They helped where they could, such as directing traffic and using their homes for momentary shelter for some people that couldn’t get home. Hospitals were able to use generators to keep functioning. Over the next few hours, the power came back on in Canada by 8 p.m., upstate New York by 9 p.m., Massachusetts by 10 p.m. The great blackout ended in New York City when the power came back on at 3:35 a.m. the next day, on November 10.

In contrast to the wave of looting and other incidents that took place during the 1977 New York City blackout, only five reports of looting were made in New York City after the 1965 blackout. It was said to be the lowest amount of crime on any night in the city's history since records were first kept.

Image credit
www.yahoo.com

Sources
http://pix11.com/2015/11/09/lights-out-in-nyc-blackout-plunged-30-million-into-darkness-on-nov-9-1965/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_blackout_of_1965

Tags

Blackout 1965, New York City, Shamarie Knight

Meet the author

author avatar Shamarie
I am a passionate writer from Harlem, New York. My expertise is creative writing and poetry. I enjoy expressing myself freely on paper and sharing my ideas with the world.

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author avatar Shamarie
10th Nov 2015 (#)

Thank you, Steve, for the fast moderation. I hope all is well with you, friend. God bless!!!

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
10th Nov 2015 (#)

Interesting post Shamarie, wow!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
10th Nov 2015 (#)

I was on a train coming into New York's Grand Central which I boarded in Springfield, Massachusetts that fateful day, and it rolled to a stop just north of Yonkers at 5:27 pm. (It was there that trains switched over from diesel to electricity.) We sat in that train for 3 hours, until it backed up to the Mt. Vernon commuter station in Westchester. Three trainloads of people emptied out into the tiny station. After about an hour three other guys and myself got into a cab - the cabbie said he'd take us to one place - Grand Central, and it would cost us fifty dollars each. From Grand Central I got a ride to the Midtown Holiday Inn, where I has a reservation, from a guy who was giving people rides to New Jersey at a hefty price. After checking in I turned to a bellhop to give him my luggage and he just shook his head in the negative. It was then that it dawned on me that of course the elevators weren't working and I would have to walk up to my room on the eighteenth floor. When I finally got there I went to turn on the shower. No water! It was now 4:00 AM and I just crashed. When I woke up at nine the power was back. Thank god!

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
10th Nov 2015 (#)

Steve, when I was reading your comment I just couldn't believe it what you went through! Eighteen flights of stairs! I know you were tired by the time you got to your room. What a nightmare!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
11th Nov 2015 (#)

That was quite a night Nancy. I remember walking into Grand Central Station, where people were lighting cigarette lighters so they could see. It was very eerie - there must have been five thousand people stretched out on the floor of the station, commuters from Westchester
County and Connecticut who were stuck there.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
11th Nov 2015 (#)

Steve, that would have been totally unnerving to me. I would have been so glad to get to my room and exhausted too that I would have gone right to sleep. What a night you had!

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
10th Nov 2015 (#)

Shamarie, excellent article. I remember 2003 very clearly. We didn't have electricity for days and our phone didn't work and we lost everything in the fridge. What a nightmare that was.

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author avatar Carol Roach
11th Nov 2015 (#)

I was too young to remember that one but I did remember the blackout that took out half of Quebec in 97

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author avatar Kingwell
16th Nov 2015 (#)

For some reason I don't seem to remember that one. I guess it didn't happen in the area where I was living but I must have heard about it. Blessings.

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author avatar Shamarie
16th Nov 2015 (#)

Thanks for the comments! Steve, your experience with the blackout could be a short film.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
22nd Nov 2015 (#)

If such a blackout happens now (God forbid!) the experience would be slightly different in a way with cellphones coming to the rescue to reach out for help and also to light the way!

I am used to blackouts of short duration but it can be a real pain at times. Thanks Shamarie for this share - siva

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