The Night the Lights Went Out in New York City

July 18, 2002


Provided by: Hank Brandli
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

Twenty five years ago this week, on July 14, 1977, most all of New York City was thrust into darkness when lightning from thunderstorms north of the City happened to strike several high voltage Con Edison power lines. While many residents pitched in to help direct traffic at busy intersections, for example, others took advantage of the situation and looted at will. As shown on the DMSP satellite image above (taken at 1:00 am), the Big Apple was swallowed by darkness. The sweltering city was without power for the night of the 14th and for most of the next day. Just to the west of New York City, Newark is fully illuminated, as are the central and eastern parts of Long Island.

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