Issues and Events

The Great Northeast Blackout
(November 9, 1965)
The Great Northeast Blackout of 1965 The Great Northeast Blackout of 1965

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There are 6 comments for this item.

Posted by Bob Wilson Jr at 10:05 am (PDT) on Thu June 23, 2011   
By 11PM, the office party had broken up, and all of us still on the 21st Floor walked down to the street. I flagged down a bus on Lexington Avenue which normally would have run only to 14th Street. When I told the driver where I was going, he took me on a detour and dropped me off right in front of my apartment building at 5th Avenue and 8th Street. (By then, I had been the only passenger remaining on the bus.) Some of us were not so lucky as me in getting home. One person walked all the way from 46th and Lexington all the way up to the North Bronx to the home of relatives...a hike of 150 city blocks (7-1/2 miles) in the dark through some of the 'worst' neighborhoods in New York City...without a scratch.
Posted by Bob Wilson Jr at 8:26 am (PDT) on Wed June 22, 2011   
I was sitting in my 21st floor office facing south from East 46th Street, on the phone at about 5:30 PM with a trade press editor in Houston when the blackout began cascading north. Seeing the Chrysler building suddenly go black was an astounding site. The editor thought I was kidding him when I described the scene. Those who were still at work on the floor gathered in the boss's corner
office where we found an old-fashioned lantern and a bottle of alcohol which were being used as photo props for a client advertising shoot, so we had light. The boss had a bottle of Scotch in his credenza (shades of "Mad Men") and a live phone connection to his wife, who kept us posted on what was going on from the one radio station that was still broadcasting.. At least two of our fellow employees made their way up from the subway platform under Grand Central Terminal in the pitch dark and climbed the stairwell back up 21 stories to join us in a party to celebrate this momentous date in history.
Posted by Balonna at 8:22 am (PDT) on Wed June 22, 2011   
I was also in Northern NJ, but we WERE affected. I had to take a bath in the dark- but the moon must have been bright.
Posted by SUBSURF at 7:47 am (PDT) on Wed June 22, 2011   
I lived in northern NJ at the time about 8 miles from Manhattan. We weren't affected, TV stations all went out, though, as they transmitted from the Empire State Building.
Posted by Max at 12:44 am (PST) on Tue November 10, 2009   
The map shows the whole state of New Jersey affected but we did not have so much as a flicker in Westmont, a few miles from Camden. We were on Public Service Gas & Electric, which got a lot of its power from Nuclear generators in Pennsylvania. Maybe that accounts for why it wasn't caught up in the chain reaction that started when ConEd's "Big Bertha" had a malfunction. We saw the whole thing on television.
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I remember a summer blackout/brownout that hit us in the late 60s but it didn't cause nearly the hardship of the big 1965 blackout.
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There were reports of UFO sightings and suspicion that the Communists were trying to do bad things to us but it turned out to be a technical fault.
Posted by Duff at 11:56 pm (PST) on Mon November 9, 2009   
Where were you at the time?

I was in New Hyde Park (Long Island, NY) on the telephone with a friend and classmate when he remarked, "Hey, we must have blown a fuse... no, wait, all the lights are out on the whole block." Across town, I replied, "Well, everything's okay he--," and our lights went out, too. I remember the date because it was my mom's birthday and they blew out all the lights for her. Wasn't that sweet?

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