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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: September 9, 2000

Which blackout(s) did you experience?
1965 (Great Northeast Blackout)

In your own words, tell the story of your experience in the blackout(s). Try to recall specific events and the people, places, and things involved; also include more general reactions, images adn last impressions?
I was watching Abbott and Costello goes to he Moon, and doing my homework, when the TV started to flicker, then the lights went out. It was really scarey, it was the first time that had ever happened. By 1977, we were old pros.

What an experience.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
I don't know, it was October, so it couldn't have been electric overload from too many air conditioners going at once.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Too much demand, not enought supply.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
1965 only

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
Because 1965 was the first time that ever happened, and it is the best remembered.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
I survived it, so it couldn't have affected me that much.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
I still didn't understand it

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
Well out here on Long Island, when the lights go out, it's only for an hour or two.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
They didn't "make enough to go around"

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
The 77 blackout was worse for me, because it was summer, very hot, and by that time I had 3 children, one being a newborn. It made it hard to function.

Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
No

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?
No

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
Became less reliant

This is how the story goes: In November of 1965 the lights went out in New York and crime rates temporarily dropped; there were widespread reports of extraordinary cooperation and trust between strangers caught together in the power failure. In July of 1977, little more than a decade later, the lights went out again in New York. This time, a devastating wave of looting and arson broke out. Does this story ring true to you? Explain why or why not:
Yes, as far as I can remember, that is what happened.

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #116, The Blackout History Project, 9 September 2000, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/116/>.
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