Interviewed by John Summers
A-I remember because I was in the middle of that 1965 blackout.
Q-Where were you living at the time?
A-I was living in East Northport, Long Island. But I was in New York. See, I used to commute to New York then.
A-And I was in Macy's; it was late in the day, you know, like around--if I remember correctly. 4:00 or 5:00.
Q-Right, it was a little after 5:00. Right.
A-Something like that. And I was in Macy's, and I walked through, because, then the little flash light-their emergency lights came on. And there was a woman standing at the coat rack, at the women's coat rack. I was walking through because you couldn't take the escalator so you had to walk down
A-And I saw what she did. She took a coat off the rack-it was before the days of sensors, you know, that they have pins on the coats. She took the coat off the rack, emptied [the contents of] her coat into the pockets of that coat, put that coat on the new one, took the tags off, put her old coat on the rack, and walked out. I mean, I gotta tell you, that was an experience I never forgot.
Q-So, the darkness provided cover for that pretty easily.
A-Yeah, it sure did. But she thought so quickly. As soon as the lights went out and people got their bearing again, she went into action.
Q-Did they move everyone outside the building right away?
A-No, they didn't. They were a little confused themselves. All you had was salesclerks, and they really didn't know how to handle this situation. And, I just wanted to get out of there, because we thought it was only the store that had the blackout.
A-And then when we got outside, it was impossible. And I had my car in a garage that was ramps, fortunately, and I got it down. But I couldn't get gas, because they wouldn't, they couldn't pump gas. It was done electrically.
Q-So what did you do?
A-I left the car, at a gas station, in Queens. And I stood, like everybody else did, on Queens Boulevard, and tried to hitch a ride.
Q-And were you successful?
A-No, I wasn't successful. I walked over to Jamaica, where my mom lived, and spent the night in Jamaica.
Q-And when did you find out that the whole Northeast had been blacked out? Do you remember how long it was?
A-I think it was the next day, because nothing worked in the house; you didn't have a portable, we didn't get a radio, we didn't get television.
Q-No battery-operated radios?
A-She didn't have any in the house. I'm glad she let me in.
Q-How would you describe your general reaction to the news of the whole Northeast...
A-I take all those things calm. And I, you know, everybody said, Aoh, it was "UFOs"-because that was the heyday of UFOs being sighted, etcetera. UFOs, and they came down, and they put a blackout, and whatever, whatever. And you know what? The next day, it was work as usual.
Q-Did you have friends who believed the UFO stories? Did you know people personally who were passing those rumors around?
A-I, well, he wasn't passing the rumor, but that was his--I do, but he's unfortunately left this earth. Yeah, he was an older gentleman. And loved that. And he was sure that the UFOs had taken care of us, and they had blacked it out for some reason.