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August 30, 1999
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 was about 9 years old, living w/my parents on Long Island. We were watching Charlies Angles on TV when all of a sudden the picture went away and static appeared. We didn't have cable so the signal was coming from the broadcast antenna on top of the World Trade Center or Empire State Building. Our lights stayed on, but there was no TV. There's my experience!
Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
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 a kid then. I cared about nothing. Today if that happened I would probably realize the impact.
How did the blackout(s) affect you?
No TV. Went to bed early (I think).
What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
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:
"In November of 1965...". Isn't that about the time everyone was smoking dope and having sex? Maybe that's why there was "...extraordinary cooperation and trust between strangers...". As for the 1977 blackout: People were still having sex like crazy but the drug of choice was cocaine. Maybe that's it? Or was it the Disco music?
Story #22, The Blackout History Project, 30 August 1999, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/22/>.
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