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Contributed by: Marla Sherman
Contributed on: December 12, 2009

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 was born that day at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital in BedSty, Brooklyn. I was born around 845 a.m. - a good 9 hours before the actual blackout. My mom remembers chaos at the hospital and in the morning they brought her what they thought was her baby. She said something like, "cute kid, not mine." She knew the baby wasn't hers, because they brought her a boy. So glad she had her wits about her!

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

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
Growing up, people would make some jokes - like, are you sure you weren't born 9 months after the blackout? And I would have blackout cake for my birthday.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
My brother and I listened to the radio during the 1977 blackout, hoping it would not be as long as "my blackout."

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?
Became less reliant

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 have heard that from other people...

Cite as: Marla Sherman, Story #2178, The Blackout History Project, 12 December 2009, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/2178/>.
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