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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: July 24, 2001

Which blackout(s) did you experience?
Both

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?
1965: I was eight years old and I remember everyone being very scared. No one knew what to make of the situation.

1977: It was unusually hot. I remember coming outside just as the lights went out - I promptly went back into the house and laid back down. I recall almost a sense of anticipation as peolpe 12 years later were almost waiting for the next blackout and took advantage by looting.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
I don't know.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Both were significant

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
The sheer darkness for one and then the destruction as a result of the looting throughout the city specificallly in my hometown of brrokly (fulton st and on Broadway).

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
In 1977 I didn't have to work for a couple of days.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
I was astounded ( as I still am) that people were astute enough to almost immediately start looting in the dark.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
The duration.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
They were not prepared to handle the demands for power.

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

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?
Yes (please explain)

If yes, please explain:
Economic blight of which some areas never recovered.

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. Reference my other comments.

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #144, The Blackout History Project, 24 July 2001, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/144/>.
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