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Eugene J. Flynn
August 15, 2003
Which blackout(s) did you experience?
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?
In 1965 I was at Bishop Ford High School in that small part of Brooklyn not effected by the blackout. We were rehearsing a play and it was some hours later that we were informed that the rest of the city was in the engulfed by a blackout. I made my way home and spent and uneventful evening there.
In 1977 I was working for the building maintenance staff at 1375 Broadway in Manhattan. Other than having to work a double and having to climb 35 flights of stairs a number of times to make sure everyone was out of the building, that too was an uneventful experience.
That fall I moved to Dallas, Texas to attend law school and have been here ever since. No blackouts here.
Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
No competition so no one has been forced to upgrade the grid.
What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Same. When there is no competition no one is forced by market forces to upgrade the grid.
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?
Insugnificant. Nothing rally happens.
How did the blackout(s) affect you?
They really didn't.
What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
It reinforced in my the knowledge that when there is no competition nothing gets done.
How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
The blackouts were larger, but that's about all.
What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
One more time: competition is the answer.
If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
To me they were about the same.
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:
From published reports, yes, but I never saw any arson or looting either time.
Eugene J. Flynn,
Story #246, The Blackout History Project, 15 August 2003, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/246/>.
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