New York August 17, 2016
Remembering The Unforgettable Blackout Of 2003 That Left New York In Total Darkness
Depending on where you reside in our state, this weekend you may have seen anything from heavy rain to more lightning bolts than Zeus ever handled and loss of power. It seems almost unimaginable to think that so much time has already passed, but oddly enough this week marks 13 years since the epic Northeast Blackout of 2003. While nearly all of New York lost power, it was New York City that found itself in true total darkness.
All thanks to an overgrown tree in Ohio, eight states found themselves taken over by darkness in the 2003 blackout.
50 million people affected by the blackout, including our northern neighbor Ontario! Over 20 power plants across the Northeast would shut down, at the time it was the second most widespread blackout in all of history. Not even two years after the 9/11 attacks, the initial concern about this blackout was that it was another unfortunate terrorist attack on our country.
With no functioning traffic lights, thoughtful residents took it upon themselves to help direct traffic while the streets of New York grew chaotic. Pictured above you can see how packed the streets were. Why were they so crowded you might ask? Because over 400,000 people who found themselves riding the subway during this blackout were evacuated out onto the streets for obvious safety measures.
Constantly lit up like your favorite bright and blinding holiday tree, watch the video below to see footage of Times Square like you've never seen it before in total darkness:
Pictured below, you can see a map showing what light activity was looking like the previous night before the blackout.
Compared to what the Northeast looked like at 9PM on August 14th, the first night of the blackout.
Picturing New York City without power seems difficult, but let's also not forget that this was
August and we were also dealing with a summer heat wave. The blackout may have been devastating to many, but plenty of our residents took this as an opportunity to have spontaneous ice cream block parties and barbecues! Before the days of Facebook and complete obsessions over social media, back in 2003 some of us weren't so upset over the blackout. We didn't mind being unplugged for so long.
What we did mind? Going 30 hours without power and seeing all that ice cream we couldn't manage to pack into our bellies get wasted, melting away with the heat.
Uploaded by The New York Times, you can see more of what it was like during the blackout and learn more details about what exactly caused this historic darkness:
What was this blackout like for you? Can you remember where exactly you were when the lights shut off? To take an even further step back in time, check out these incredible
Then-And-Now Photos That Show How Much New York City Has Changed!