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Contributed by: DAN
Contributed on: January 26, 2007

Which blackout(s) did you experience?
1977 (New York City 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?
IT WAS ALLREADY A HOT SUMMER. I HAD A JOB WORKING AT A CARVEL ICE CREAM STORE ON FLATBUSH AVENUE. I WAS INFATUATED WITH A GIRL NAMED ANITA.WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT,THERE WAS A BIG HUSH OVER BROOKLYN,BUT ONLY MOMENTARILY.THE WINDOWS OF FLATBUSH AVE. SHATTERED AND CRASHED TO THE GROUND. KIDS,ADULTS AND ANYONE BRAVE AND SEEKING FREE GOODS WERE ON THE AVE. TAKING WHAT THEY WANTED.THERE WERE A FEW NOBLE SOULS WHO HAD FLASHLIGHTS AND HELPED DIRECT TRAFFIC, AID OTHERS AND TRY TO QUELL THE STORM.
THERE WERE A FEW THIEFS WHO ROBBED A SAFE OUT OF A STORE AND WALK/ROLL IT SEVERAL BLOCKS AWAY, ONLY TO HAVE IT ROBBED FROM THEM.
MAYHEM OR A CITY OF OPPRESSED FOLK WHO SAW AN OPPORTUNITY ?
THE GLASS CONTINUED TO COME DOWN.GATES WERE TAKEN OFF THE WINDOWS.
THE NEXT DAY , FLATBUSH WAS COVERED WITH MORE PEOPLE WALKING AROUND WITH GOODS FOR SALE.MOST PEOPLE WALKED AROUND LIKE IT WAS A 'US AGAINST THEM ATTITUDE' WITH " THEM", BEING BUSINESS OWNERS AND AUTHORITY.A MAN ROLLED HIS SLEEVE UP AND HAD HIS WHOLE ARM FILLED WITH WATCHES...
FOR MANY CITY BLOCKS,EVERY STORE HAD BEEN LOOTED,WITH ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LEFT IN IT. STORE OWNERS CRIED...
UPON LEAVING WORK THAT NIGHT A HERTZ TRUCK ROLLED TO A STOP;THE DOORS ROLLED UP AND ABOUT 15 OF THE BIGGEST BICEP HAVING GUYS JUMPED OUT ALL CARRYING HICKORY STICKS OR BATS. I WAS TOLD TO GET OFF THE STREETS.
AT 16, I WAS JUST ANOTHER KID IN THE CITY...........



Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
WITH A LARGE POPULATION, A SWELTERING SUMMER,THE DEMAND FOR COMFORT WAS THERE. THE TV'S AND AIR CONDITIONERS PUT AN OVERLOAD ON CON-ED'S SYSTEM.........

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
THE POWER COMPANIES NEED TO KEEP UP WITH CITY GROWTH AND USE BETTER SYSTEMS.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
1977 only

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
IT WAS AN EYE OPENING ADJUSTING TIME IN N.Y.
TENSIONS WERE HIGH, RACIAL INEQULITIES WERE RISING, THE SON OF SAM WAS HOVERING NEARBY.
THE BLACKOUT WAS A POINT IN CITY HISTORY THAT RIVALS THE KATRINA STORMS IN LOUISIANA . MANY OPPRESSED WILL RISE, GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
IT IS FRESH IN MY MEMORY 30 YEARS DOWN THE ROAD........

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
NO COMMENT

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
LIKE NIGHT AND DAY.
THE BLACKOUT WAS A DIFFERENT ERA; THE BLACKOUTS I HAVE LIVED IN SINCE HAVE BEEN IN ANOTHER CITY WITH NO RESEMBLANCE TO NY'77 WHATSOEVER

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
NO COMMENT

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
I WAS FOUR IN 1965. SO NO OPINION.

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:
I CAN ATTEST TO THE BLACKOUT OF '77. THE LOOTING WAS REAL.THE DESPERATION AND WANTON - NESS WAS RAMPANT.

Cite as: DAN, Story #1308, The Blackout History Project, 26 January 2007, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/1308/>.
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