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August 14, 1999
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?
In the 1965 blackout Staten Island was not really affected
all that much. I was in our basement kitchen in Oakwood Heights Staten Island when the lights started to flicker.
My biggest impression was the battery powered radio was playing and the radio d.j. started to lose it saying "What's happening?" as our lights started to flicker. My mother was in the middle of chewing me out for something (I was 14 )and the lights going out and the d.j. yelling got her mind off my offense whatever it was and I was happy. Our power was off for a very short period of time. I had lived in Long Island until I was 7 and remember the lights being out for several days there so the outage did not impress me until the next day when I read about how extensive it was. I was still glad it happened before my mother had gotten to the punishment phase of my offence.
Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Depends on who believe. Equipment failure, overload, U.F.O.,
more than likley human mistake made in maintaince or operation
What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Poor maintaince by utilities
Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Neither was significant
How did the blackout(s) affect you?
Saved my but literally
What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
Too young to care didn't believe the real reason was an overload. I still would believe U.F.O's before I would believe that the power companys excuse that there was a dramatic increase in power was the cause. I believe that the power companys caused it by pinching pennies in someway
How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
I've seen worse
Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?
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:
People had a better sence of community
Story #13, The Blackout History Project, 14 August 1999, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/13/>.
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