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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: August 15, 2003

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 in my last class in my high school- central commercial when I notice outside my classroom windows, that the lights was slowly turning off. We didn't know what to think. One of my classmate kidding said that someone forgot to pay the electric bill.

Since most of us had to travel by the subway system, we had to spend the night in school. The Red Cross came to give us sandwiches and something to drink.

As there were so many of us, I couldn't get a hold of my parents by phome until 2o'clock in the morning. They were relieve that we were taken care of. Those that live close to home, were able to leave when their parents came to pick them up.

I didn't leave my school until the power was back on the next morning which was about 8o'clock. That was Wednesday.
We didn't report to school until Thursday.

That truly was as experience which I will never forget.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
At that time I had no idea.

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

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

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
It was significant to me because I was there.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
It didn't affect me one way or another. To me it was very exciting. I never experince anything like it. If it happen later as I was traveling home on the train, it probably would have been very scary. But as it was, I felt safe in school with kids and teachers I knew.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
I found out later that it started in Canada. Since I was a kid at the time, I was not that interested.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
No comparison. The only backout that I experience was local and brief.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
No affect.

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
In 1977 I already moved to Texas

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:
Again as I mentioned earlier, I have already moved to Texas.

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #259, The Blackout History Project, 15 August 2003, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/259/>.
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