Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Blackout

Back on August 14, 2003 there was a major east coast blackout. The power was out in my area for a little over a day. Some places were without power for 10+ days.

I was working in Lower Manhattan close to the World Trade Center when the lights went dark. The boss announced that the whole neighborhood was out and to go home by walking past the World Trade Center zone. By the time I reached the subway I walked halfway down the steps when I noticed it was the blackest black I ever saw.

If the subway was dark I thought so is the entire city. Walking to Union Square people with cars blasted their stereos with news that most of the east coast was out. Every payphone was working but full of anxious callers. Nearly every cell phone was non-functional.

I decided to walk back home over the bridge to my section of Brooklyn, it was about 8 miles (13 km). It was also in the high 90s and high humidity. All I had was half a bottle of warm water and about $50.

The only criminal activity I saw was frozen water being sold at five times normal value.

By the time I got home a few hours later I went to a local pizzeria ordered some slices and soda. They used two ovens one a wood burner the other a gas burner both worked well. My apartment uses natural gas stoves so it also was unaffected and I didn't open he fridge so nothing spoiled.

I spent the night listening to my Sony Walkman and staring at the star filled sky. The day brought electricity and TV. It was a good time New Yorkers acted like they always do with calm and logic.


  1. Sweetie, New Yorkers don't ALWAYS act with calm and logic. I live in NY during the big blackout of 1977 and it was much more chaotic.

  2. That was the turning point, I was also there and soon after that most of trouble makers went down south leaving NY 20 years to slowly rebuild.

    Most of the people I knew who went to the south never came back. The Bronx is Burning was more than just a book/TV show but it did leave a good base to start the New New York.

  3. Anonymous12:31 PM

    I remember this. I probably saw you walk across that bridge, on news reports being broadcast down here in TX, of course.

    Was it neat to see the stars without the city glare?

  4. No cameras at that point since most of the city turned into a 19th century traffic jam.

    It was nice but still not as many stars as the countryside since there were still hundreds of building fully lit because of generators.


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