Blackout Cuts Power to Tens of Thousands on the West Side; Subways Shut Down

Below 72nd Street, buildings were mostly completely dark. Photo by Seth, looking South from 72nd and Central Park West.

Much of the Upper West Side lost electricity on Saturday evening around 7 p.m., and subways were shut down in the area. The blackout appears to have been caused by a transformer fire at 65th Street and West End Avenue, according to Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal.

Looking South from 72nd Street and Broadway. Photo by John Wells.

The A, C, D, E, F, M 1, 2, and 3 trains were all experiencing significant delays or temporary stoppage, officials said.

Central Park West was dark on Saturday after the blackout. Photo by Joy Bergmann.

The blackout was impacting people between 40th Street and 72nd Street. Most of those above 72nd appeared to have power.

Several people were stuck in elevators at the time of the blackout. FDNY Ladder 23 from Harlem had already done four elevator rescues when we spotted them on West 66th Street around 9:30 p.m.

Photo by Joy Bergmann.

The Con Edison outage map, shown below, says 44,453 people didn’t have power as of 8:42 p.m.

“Unfortunately, we do not have an estimated restoration at this time,” Con Edison told the Times. “Our crews are working as quickly and safely as they can to restore service.”

As night fell, much of the neighborhood went dark.

Subway stations had few if any lights on.

“Get home before dark and bolt the door,” said one doorman on Central Park West.

Citizens stepped up to direct traffic at certain intersections.

Stores and arts venues were forced to close.

Please contact us at westsiderag at gmail with any information, and let us know how you’re holding up.

The following is from Notify NYC:

If you are affected by an outage:
– Report it at or call 1-800-75-CONED (26633), or if you have a speech or hearing disability, report outages to 1-800-642-2308.
– Please stay safe. Never go near or touch a fallen power line. If you see a downed wire, call 1-800-75-CONED immediately.
– Do not use generators indoors.
– Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to prevent food spoilage.
– If you are having a life-threatening medical emergency and need immediate assistance, please dial 9-1-1.
NEWS | 18 comments | permalink
    1. Steve in Manhattan says:

      The New York City Fire Department said that the outage was initiated by a transformer fire that started at West 64th St and West End Ave #blackout

      We’re at 74th and Amsterdam – power still on.

    2. Bill Williams says:

      On the Anniversary of the 1977 Blackout, one wonders if the old NYC is making a comeback. I sure hope so!

      • LK says:

        I’m glad you are enjoying the inconvenience. Wait, maybe you just live above 72-nd and enjoying someone else’s inconvenience. I would like to see NY in the 21-st century not 50 years behind…

      • Ladybug says:

        There was looting, arson and son of Sam terror during the 1977 blackout and it was easily 101 degrees F. And you want that back???

      • UWSHebrew says:

        nice try at trolling. a bit too obvious.

    3. SubParPoliticiansLightsOut says:

      No DiBlasio or Helen Rosenthal to be seen in action…

      • B.B. says:

        Your tax dollars at work:

        “Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was in Iowa campaigning for his presidential bid, ruled out terrorism or criminal activity.”

        At least Cuomo was in NY doing what he’s paid for, meanwhile BdeB is out pressing the flesh and watching corn grow.

        • ScooterStan says:

          Right On!, B.B. !

          Iowa is a mere 960 miles from NYC, and if ‘His Horror’ (sic) REALLY wanted to be back in the city that elected him TWICE he could have had his handlers charter a NetJet or such and been here in a few hours.

          But BdB (with a post-debate rating of 1%) was too-busy campaigning in Waterloo, Iowa !

          Hopefully, this was his “Waterloo” !

    4. AC57 says:

      The manhole fire was at the same spot where a pressure burst occurred a few months ago. I heard the explosion and watched the ac and lights go out.

    5. Ququi says:

      Midsummer Night Swing in Damrosch @ Lincoln Center was celebrating its closing night when the power went out.
      The Harlem Renaissance Orchestra played a low-tech before we had to abandon ship, but spirits were high. NYC Finds a way fir the show to go on.

    6. Ny is great now says:

      Where are all the old-timer, nimby, back in the day types that are lamenting how awful and crime ridden nyc is under our liberal leaders. Peaceful blackout. NYers helping one another.

      Back in the day we would be hearing stories of looting, assault, harassment.

    7. Nancy Wolfe says:

      I wonder if Seth could take the same photo tonight with the lights on? I think the comparison would be great to see.

    8. Barb says:

      Even when you are gone for a few months and everything is switched off in the apartment including fridge ConEd charges $50 to keep everything going. That is what they told me. The $ they make is insane. If you look how the underground cable system is done, it is absolutely crazy. Why does ConEd not update the system? Seems they make enough $ of us.

    9. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      this comment has been made above, but worth reiterating: We hear week after week from a certain group of angry voices that NYC is deteriorating under DeBlasio into a lawless, anarchistic dystopia.

      So where was the looting and crime, when the lights went out in times Square?

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          i don’t think De B should be running for President, and i think he should have come back immediately from Iowa due to the blackout, though it turned out he was right that matters were well in hand.

          However, it’s no surprise that the right wing Murdoch rag, the NY Post, is calling for a totally undemocratic dictatorial move of “removing De Blasio” by Cuomo. btw, Cuomo’s administration has had far larger scandals than DeB’s, and more of them.

          I’m also tired of the double standard between Bloomberg and DeBlasio. Do we recall that Bloomberg was out of town for at least one debacle? And that he left town almost every weekend without informing the public where he went (his mansion/ estate on Bermuda)? Or that Bloomberg, too, had much larger scandals than DeB… start with CityTime.

          And there was one simple thing that DeBlasio did that makes him a better Mayor than Bloomberg: he ended the racist practice of “racial profiling stop and frisk.” it was not so long ago that NYPD had a policy, ordered and defended by Bloomberg, of stopping every Black man under a certain age with no proof nor suspicion of a crime.

          De Blasio has many other achievements, i don’t have time or space to refute the Post editorial point by point. There are also important areas where i disagree with him, and where he has come up short. But the attempt to demonize politicians on the left as unable to govern by using DeBlasio is politically motivated, and transparent.

          This is done with all liberals and people not on the right. See Barack Obama.

          • UWSHebrew says:

            how can you defend a person who has had so many instances of “pay to play”? the guy is extremely corrupt, lazy, and incompetent. his wife has NO ANSWER to what the 875 million given to her program actually accomplished. Bloomberg ran the city very well after Rudy gave him a much improved city. All I disagree with him on is how disgusting Times Square has become. I really don’t care who can be mayor, but ANYONE is better than DB.

    10. Howard Freeman says:

      Love the dude directing traffic. True citizenship. Owning his neighborhood.

      Here in the Texas Hill Country we have quite a few power outages due to lightning. Always makes me grateful for the little things in life.