New York, United States
Almost the entire state of New York lost power. Exceptions include Freeport and Rockville Centre on Long Island, which relied on localized power plants; the Capital District, where power dipped briefly but returned, the southernmost areas of the Southern Tier of Upstate New York, Mostly near Waverly, which relied on power from Pennsylvania; the city of Plattsburgh; Starrett City, Brooklyn, which has auxiliary power; most of the city of Buffalo; and pockets of Amherst in the Buffalo area, running off university power. There were also some small pockets of power in the suburbs of Rochester, as a few smaller power companies operating in those areas were able to keep running. The North Shore Towers complex was unaffected by the blackout due to their on-site self-generating power plant. Power was also available at the Kodak Park facility and its surrounding neighborhood in the city. Power was lost at the Oak Hill Country Club, in nearby Pittsford, New York, where the PGA Championship was being played, which caused minor interruptions to the tournament. Also, that evening’s Major League Baseball game between the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium was postponed. In New York, all prisons were blacked out and switched to generator power. The two Indian Point nuclear reactors on the Hudson River near Peekskill, the two reactors at Nine Mile Point nuclear plant, the single reactor at Ginna nuclear plant near Rochester, and the FitzPatrick reactor near Oswego all shut down. With three other nuclear plants shut down in Ohio, Michigan, and New Jersey, a total of nine reactors were affected. The governor of New York state, George Pataki, declared a state of emergency.
Manhattan, including Wall Street and the United Nations, was completely shut down, as were all area airports, and all New York area rail transportation including the subway, the PATH lines between Manhattan and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast lines between New York Penn Station and Newark Penn Station, the Morris & Essex Lines between New York Penn Station and Newark Broad Street, the Metro-North Railroad, and the Long Island Rail Road. Hundreds of people were trapped in elevators; by late evening the New York City Fire Department had reportedly confirmed that all stalled elevators in approximately 800 Manhattan high-rise office and apartment buildings had been cleared. More than 600 subway and commuter rail cars were trapped between stations; the NY State Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey—which operates the PATH lines—reported that all passengers were evacuated without serious injury. However, PATH was first to resume subway service on Sixth Avenue (albeit on 15-minute headways) by 6PM that evening.
Without traffic lights, gridlock was reported as persons in lower and midtown Manhattan fled their offices on foot; for hours into the evening the streets, highways, bridges and tunnels were jammed with traffic and pedestrians leaving Manhattan, though many civilians opted to help direct traffic. The bus journey from Manhattan to Washington, D.C. (which normally takes four hours) took more than eight hours, with reports that it took four hours just to get out of Manhattan. Mayor Michael Bloomberg advised residents to open their windows, drink plenty of liquids to avoid heat stroke in the heat, and not to forget their pets. Temperatures were 92 °F (33 °C) with high humidity, as New York had just experienced a record-breaking rain spell that had started at the end of July. With cell phone operation mostly stalled by circuit overloads, New Yorkers were lining up 10 deep or more at pay phones as ordinary telephone service remained largely unaffected.
While some commuters were able to find alternate sleeping arrangements, many were left stranded in New York and slept in parks and on the steps of public buildings. While practically all businesses and retail establishments closed down, many bars and pubs reported a brisk business as many New Yorkers took the opportunity to spend the evening “enjoying” the blackout. Since most perishable items were going to spoil anyway, many restaurants and citizens simply prepared what they could and served it to anyone who wanted it, leading to vast block parties in many New York neighborhoods. Any ice cream in frozen storage also had to be quickly served to any and all passers by. The Indigo Girls were scheduled to perform that evening at Central Park SummerStage, and the band took the stage as planned to play one of the only shows in the affected area, using generators that had been filled with fuel that morning. The venue also had bathrooms and vendors cooking food on propane grills.
40,000 police and the entire fire department were called in to maintain order. At least two fatalities were linked to the use of flames to provide light, and many nonfatal fires also resulted from the use of candles. New York City’s Office of Emergency Management activated its Emergency Operations Center, from which more than 70 agencies coordinated response efforts, which included delivery of portable light towers to unlit intersections, generators and diesel fuel to hospitals, and a portable steam generator necessary to power air conditioning units at the American Stock Exchange.
Verizon’s emergency generators failed several times, leaving the emergency services number 9-1-1 out of service for several periods of about a quarter hour each. New York City’s 311 information hotline received over 175,000 calls from concerned residents during the weekend. Amateur radio operators attached to New York City ARES provided a backup communications link to emergency shelters and hospitals. Amateur radio repeaters were supplied with emergency power via generators and batteries and remained functional.
Many major U.S. networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX) and some cable TV networks (such as HBO, MTV, and Nickelodeon) were unable to broadcast because of the lack of electricity in the New York City area, but back-up stations in Dallas and flagship transmitters there made it possible for prime-time television to be broadcast. (ABC chose instead to cover the news from Washington, D.C. during the blackout). — wikipedia
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Con Edison retracted its claim that New York City would have power by 1 a.m. That night some areas of Manhattan regained power at approximately 5 a.m. (August 15), the New York City borough of Staten Island regained power around 3 a.m. on August 15, and Niagara Mohawk predicted that the Niagara Falls area would have to wait until 8 a.m. — wikipedia