The worst night in New York City history: blackout of 1977



The night of July 13, 1977, will be remembered as one of the worst in New York City history. In this evening the sun went down the horizon and a storm got and more closer to New York. Series of lightning bolts all over town and power relay system, then — overloading, the failure and switching off of all light sources in a city.

The light was off, all elevators in New York with people inside was stopped, the subway was out of order.

This crisis took NYC by surprise in the hottest summer period at the height of the financial crisis, poverty and social inequalities. It was chaos in a few hours of the accident. In short period were registered more than 2 000 robberies and dumpster fires.

It took almost 24 hours to restore order on streets. Over 3 600 arrests were made during this time. The city was damaged in the amount of 300 million dollars

Mayor Abe Beame spoke during the blackout about what citizens were up against during the blackout and what the costs would be.

«We’ve seen our citizens subjected to violence, vandalism, theft and discomfort. The Blackout has threatened our safety and has seriously impacted our economy. We’ve been needlessly subjected to a night of terror in many communities that have been wantonly looted and burned. The costs when finally tallied will be enormous»

The most active members of public disorder were ghetto residents. 1977 was a year of the highest unemployment and low incomes. So the ghetto people have taken this blackout like an opportunity to make serious money. The main reason for this anger of New Yorkers was a catastrophic economic situation of citizens. In 1977 the level of unemployment among the black ghetto residents stood at 40 per cent.

«It`s Christmas, it`s Christmas! » — the looters were screaming …

The robbers weren’t shy or afraid of punishment. A lot of different cars were coming close to shops and loading trunks of their cars by stolen goods. On a next day, people can buy a colour TV for 25 dollars or expensive sneakers only for 1 dollar. It was like a nightmare.
»The looters were looting other looters, and the fists and the knives were coming out,» Carl St. Martin, a neurologist in Forest Hills, Queens, recalled years later, according to the Times.

 

 

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