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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: May 25, 2002

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?
My Mother tells my twin and I that she was in the hospital, Mt. Sainia and I was first to be born and within the five minutes that my sister was born the lights went out. She was there was alot of commotion in the room and when she awoke there were candles everywhere she thought she had died. So my twin was born by candle light.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
My guess is that there was not enough energy power to carry the growth of New York City.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
I really 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?
It just makes everyone aware of how much power we need to keep New York lit.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
The first affected my father who had to walk across the 59t Street bridge to get to the hospital. The second one happened two days after my neice was born. We just feel that its part of our family history to be born on the day of the backout or around the time of one taking place.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
When i read what happened when my sister and i were born it comes as a shock. I was pretty young when my neice was born, but remember the commotion about the son of sam. I really don't remember the details only that it was mentioned among the grown-ups

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
Those have been the only two.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
I really didn't know at the time

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
My only experience of the one in 1965 was being born. In 1977 it being extremely hot and we couldn't get the fans to work. My mom had candles and having to light them.

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

If yes, please explain:
Our birth and my Neices.

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:
Well, I believe that it does ring true. When it happened in 1965, like the world trade. Its a huge shock and everyone becomes one. When it happened in 1977, people were ready they had made mental plans i guess, of taking advantage of the situation for their own needs. Just like the Trade. There were those few who tried to take advantage of the situation. Filing false reports about their love ones. Its really ashame that the world has come to this. However, I still believe that there are more good people out there than there are bad unfortunitly they don't have signs on their forheads alarting us.

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #164, The Blackout History Project, 25 May 2002, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/164/>.
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