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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: February 8, 2000

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?
It was about 7:30 PM. I was about 7 years old and we were waiting for "The Incredible Hulk" to come on TV. In an instant the whole apartment and, looking outside, the projects became pitch black. We spent the evening sitting in candle light listening to AM radio for news. Luckily no one was stuck in our elevator.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
If I remember correctly, a line came down that fed the city. Thus the whole city did not recieve power.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Lack of redundancy. There should be at least two of everything. There should be 2 lines, 2 substations and even 2 generators going at half power. We don't have these things so we get power outages. Like the "Brown Out of 99" caused by not enough power to cool off all the apartments. Con Ed reacted by lowering the output to the lower rent areas of the city even though they firmly deny it. The upity areas of Midtown were not affected.

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?
In 77 I was to young to grasp it's full outcome other than "it's really dark outside and we won't be able to cross the street" In 99 we had over 100 deaths nationwide, mainly the elderly. People neede to be evacuated from thier homes because they didn't have enough power. My air conditioner did not have enough power to run correctly.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
In 99, my air conditioner did not have enough power to run correctly. I had to rely on fans to keep air circulating. Also it hit me hard to think that in an advanced society such as ours, we let people die because we never planned ahead or stole equal recources from the poor to appease the big businesses who AC's and computers worked just fine.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
Disgust. We were feeding Midtown and draining the residental areas. very few people who work in mdtown actually live in the city. We should have declared a state of emergency and shut down midtown saving not only the daily working energy, but the energy to transport them from wherever they came from and smog reduction from thier cars which in turn woul keep the city cooler and the air easier to breathe. Instead our devil mayor did the opposite.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
Large scale and drawn out over time.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
They collect money. They don't serve the public as a whole, just the companies who make them rich.

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

If yes, please explain:
People in the city are expendable. We are worth nothing to our officials or the utilities that control us.

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

If yes, please explain:
Looting and food spoilage in grocery stores.

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
No effect / same reliance

If other, please specify:
What choice do you have. The projects wont let you install solar panels on the roof.

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:
77 vaguely, I was seven.

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #41, The Blackout History Project, 8 February 2000, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/41/>.
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