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July 14, 2007
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?
I lived in Rockville Centre, Long Island, NY and we did NOT experience the blackout. RVC had its own electric generators and so was spared. I was preparing dinner at home, having come home from teaching high school. My father, having come home from Manhattan on the Long Island Rail Road uneventfully wanted to see something on television; when he turned it on, all the stations were snow. After complaining about the tv set, he turned on the radio, which worked. It took quite a while to figure out what people were excited about. We had electricity and it never failed, a beacon of light in a sea of darkness. I often wonder what it looked like from a plane. I called a friend who lived at !st Ave and 58 St in Manhattan. She said she was ok and that it was like a party outside.
Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
probably poor planning on the part of the engineers and/or bureaucrats in charge
Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
because we had taken electricity for granted. Later on, we were grateful for living in Rockville Centre which had the foresight to supply its own.
How did the blackout(s) affect you?
by being the exception to the general blackness of the NYC area.
What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
It confirmed that it was poorly run.
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?
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:
Story #1998, The Blackout History Project, 14 July 2007, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/1998/>.
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