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Contributed by: Patricia
Contributed on: July 13, 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?
I remember this blackout as if it were yesterday. I was 19 years old and going. It was Friday night and my boyfriend and I were watching the cop show Barretta. The window overlooked Laguadia Airport. All of a sudden it started to go out little by little. Then the TV went out. We were like "what the hell is going on?" I looked out the window of my parents 6th floor Bronx apartment and all I could remember was the Good Year Tire Shop up the block being broken into. I just saw guys rolling tires down the streets. My sister was outside with my mom and was 7 months pregnant. She jumped on my mother's lap I was told because she was scared. It's funny because I remember all 3 blackouts, but this one was more memorable because it was more memorable.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
I think it was something about a lightening strike someplace. Who really knows?

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
I have no opinion really. I was young and skinny and being without a fan didn't matter. To me it was kind of fun.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Neither was significant

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
I was young and carefree both times.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
It was just something that I could remember for the rest of my life.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
I thought it was really sad and I was so embarrased by all the loooting in my neighborhood. I realized that the people I lived amoung were animals.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
I have never experienced any other normal outages besides the blackouts (I guess I'm lucky living in the Bronx).

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
Well, after hearing about last summer's blackout in Queens I have little faith in Con-Ed.

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
Well, In 1965 I was only only 7 years old and don't remember it much. In 1977 I was 19 and experienced it all, from the looting, to not being able to watch tv or have a fan on.

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

If yes, please explain:
All 3 blackouts will always be memorable to me.

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

If yes, please explain:
Not to me and my family directly, but I'm sure it did to all of the persons who were victims of the looting.

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
Became less reliant

If other, please specify:
Yes. I am always prepared now. In the 2003 blackout I thank God that I was only without electric for 4 hours. I had a freezer/fridge full of food because I was having a big party 2 days later. I was thankful I was one of the first in the Bronx to get the power back.

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:
It's a sad reality, but very true. That's why during the 2003 blackout, all of the store owners were still at their stores and stood guard. It's so sad, but true.

Cite as: Patricia, Story #1990, The Blackout History Project, 13 July 2007, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/1990/>.
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