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Contributed by: L. Tessier
Contributed on: August 18, 2003

Which blackout(s) did you experience?
Other (please specify)

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 remember it was cold and dark, yet my Dad provided us with lights. He brought home some car batteries, and was able to hook up some lights. Our neighbors all came over to see how we managed lights. I remember they turned the night into a fun filled party.
In 1977, I had a family of my own and it was a hot sticky night. Driving back home, with my small infant in his seat, was worrisome. Neither time did I feel afraid. I felt confident that the lights would return. I felt the same when the lights went out in 2003. The lights will always return...

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
They were accidents, pure and simple.A combination of human error and the inability to see what was going to happen.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
I feel that the company's attitude of complaceny has a part in it/ They forget that the unexpected can indead happen.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Both were significant

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
They were significant because they brought out the best and the worst in people.
In 1965 I felt safe, in !977 I felt safe, but worried about the people who were rioting in other areas. In 2003, I felt that the cause would be found out to be human error, not terrorism.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
It made me apprciate family and friends more. I was able to slow down and focus on them which made me feel closer to them.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
It remained the same

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
It was more widespread. It impacted more members of my extended family. It helped bring home them importance of keeping in touch

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
Con Ed is like any other Major company. Soem are good, some are not good. It would be great if they could have prevented it. But they did not. And they will be remembered for that, not for all the years that they did the job w/o problems.

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?
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:
It does ring true, to some degree. The looting did not happen all over, just in certain areas. There was a lot of cooperation in 1977 that did not get reported.

Cite as: L. Tessier, Story #291, The Blackout History Project, 18 August 2003, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/291/>.
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