The night New York City went dark

The night New York City went dark

On July 13, 1977, around 9:36pm, the Con Edison power system shut down, plunging New York City into darkness. The blackout that hit in the mid-evening was the result of lightning strikes on electrical equipment that caused power to fail.

The power outage left travelers stranded in Grand Central Station as public transportation shut down, caused a New York Mets game at Shea Stadium to end in the sixth inning, and forced the closing of the New York Stock Exchange the following day. Tunnels to Manhattan were closed because ventilation fans were inoperable without electric power. Restaurants and bars that remained open served patrons by candlelight. Declaring a state of emergency, Mayor Beame urged all who did not have vital business in the city to stay home.

By the time that electricity was restored about 25 hours later, widespread looting and chaos had broken out throughout the city. Firefighters in the Bronx and Brooklyn battled fires raging in stores that had been looted.

Below is a selection of archive photos in recognition of the 40th anniversary of this historic event.

Text and photos edited by Kathleen Elliott

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See these photos on AP Images

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