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Contributed by: TOM CRADDOCK
Contributed on: December 5, 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?
WE WERE FROM TORONTO CANADA, IN NEW YORK TO AUDITION FOR THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW. WE WERE 1 GIRL AND THREE BOYS AGE 8 TO 12.WE SANG FOUR PART HARMONY, AND A FEW MONTHS EARLIER AUDITIONED IN FRONT OF ED SULLIVAN IN TORONTO OUR HOME, AND HE INVITED US TO COME TO NEW YORK.

WE STAYED AT A BIG HOTEL THAT WAS RIGHT BESIDE THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING. WE WERE ON THE 27TH FLOOR, AND I REMEMBER LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW AMAZED AT ALL THE LIGHTS ON THE BUILDINGS AND THE TRAFFIC.IT WAS LIKE BEING ON A DIFFERENT PLANET.

I WAS MARVELLING AT ALL OF THIS PANORAMIC BEAUTY WHEN WE HEARD THE TURBINES I FOUND OUT LATER THEY WERE SHUT DOWN, AND BUILDING BY BUILDING THE LIGHTS WENT OUT. IT TOOK ONLY A FEW SECONDS, AND THEN IT WAS DARK, EXCEPT FOR THE CARS ON THE STREETS. I REMEMBER HOW ASTONISED WE ALL WERE TO WITNESS THIS. ALL YOU HEARD THEN WAS THE SIRENS AND ALL YOU COULD SEE IS THE SUILLOETES OF THE BULILDINGS. YOU COULD SEE THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING WHICH NOW WAS A STRANGE HUGE DARK FIGURE IN THE SKY.

WE WONDERED IF THIS WAS WORLD WAR 3 OR SOMETHING.WE ALL REMAINED VERY CALM I REMBER AND WERE MORE FASCINATED THAN ANYTHING ELSE. I REMEMBER ABOUT 3 HOURS INTO THE BLACKOUT MY DAD CALLED THE DESK AND ASKED IF THEY COULD BRING UP SOME FOOD. GOD BLESS THE STAFF,BUT THEY ALL GOT TOGETHER AND MADE UP A BASKET OF SANDWICHES AND CRACKERS AND CHEESE AND SOME POOR BELLHOP WALKED UP 27 FLOORS IN THE DARK TO BRING IT TO US. I HOPE MY DAD GAVE HIM A LARGE TIP.

AFTER WE ATE WE ALL DOSED OFF AND AWOKE ABOUT 7AM AND THE LIGHTS WERE BACK ON. WE NVER MADE THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW BUT DID MAKE THE PERRY COMO SHOW.

I'LL NEVER FORGET IT.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
WE HEARD IT WAS CAUSED BY A GENERATING PLANT IN LEWISTON NY.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
THEY HAPPEN

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
1965 only

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
BECAUSE I WAS THERE.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
I AM PROUD TO HAVE BEEN IN A HISTORIC EVENT.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
NOTHING.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
THIS WAS THE KING OF BLACKOUTS.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
NOTHING

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
I ONLY WAS IN THE 65 BLACOUT.

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?
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:
I CAN ONLY TALK ABOUT THE 65 ONE.

Cite as: TOM CRADDOCK, Story #2153, The Blackout History Project, 5 December 2007, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/2153/>.
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