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Contributed by: cathy
Contributed on: January 22, 2007

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 working for Metroploitan Life on 23rd Street. We happened to work overtime that night when the lights went out. Luckily for us, our building had its own cafeteria and its own medical department. We were fed (early on) and made comfortable, in lounges, with bedding, for the night. Then, we were sent home early the next morning for a day off.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
We had no idea at the time. Early on, we really thought we were going to war. I was only 18 at that time.
Once I contacted my parents and others contacted families, & we knew what had happened, we had a great time. It was like one big pajama party.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
It's like when a fuse goes bad. I don't think anyone is at fault

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

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
Young & Adventurous.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
Party Time!

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
Again, we're New Yorkers...

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
Significant due to time & area affected.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
None at all, we were New Yorkers, we took it in stride.

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
To be honest, I don't even remember the 77 one!

Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
Yes (please explain)

If yes, please explain:
I remember a friendly coming together of all New Yorkers.

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
No effect / same reliance

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, people just change over time.

Cite as: cathy, Story #1232, The Blackout History Project, 22 January 2007, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/1232/>.
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