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Contributed by: valerie constant
Contributed on: December 9, 2013

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 9 months pregnant and not feelng well so I left work late afternoon on Tuesday, 11/9/1965. I left my office and walked to 42nd st. and noticed the lights in the Horn & Hardt cafeteria were out.Boarded crosstown bus to Port Authority bus terminal and more lights were out in buildings. By the time we got to the terminal, it was totally black. People on the bus were freaking out. I lead a few people up the stairs to my platform to get my bus home to West New York/Boulevard East.

My husband was stuck in upper NYS and my other 2 children weathered out the 13 plus hours looking at NYC and the Hudson River in total darkness over night.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Too many people overloading the source.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
too many users but that was in 1965. It is now 2013.

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

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
I could not believe that Manhattan was totally black and all I could see were the lights of boats on the river. It was a feeling I could not describe.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
I felt like what if my area in N.J. just across the river from the Big Apple would also loose power. Actually I was almost parellel with 52nd st. in NYC
also what would I do if this happened in NJ

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
Shocked and why did this happen. I had heard that power station was hit by a car.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
no comparison

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
not good and why would Con Ed let this happen

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
Still in Bergen County but 1977 blackout I do not recall

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

If yes, please explain:
made us totally dependent on electricty. what would happen if some a hole decided to attack nyc via air

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

If yes, please explain:
showed we are vunerable and rely on electric

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:
No, 1977 does not ring a bell as I was living in Ridgewood but themore I think about it, I do recall the situation but I was safe in my home.

Cite as: valerie constant, Story #2207, The Blackout History Project, 9 December 2013, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/2207/>.
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