“City Gropes in Dark”

So read the New York Times headline on the morning of November 10, 1965—the day after New York City, along with much of the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada, was plunged into darkness thanks to an overloaded power line in Ontario.

The blackout happened at about 5:30 in the evening. Airports were closed, roads became dark, and 800,000 unlucky subway riders were stranded underground. Most of the riders made it back to the street safely, but 60 commuters were stuck on a Queensbound train in a tunnel in the East River for 14 hours!

Life magazine’s commemorative blackout edition:


The 1965 Blackout is generally remembered as a time when New Yorkers banded together and showed resilience. Citizens directed traffic and handed out candles, and there was no looting—quite unlike what happened during the 1977 Blackout.


The lights went back on in parts of the city later that night, but it took until 7 a.m. the next morning for the rest of the city to regain power.

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2 Responses to ““City Gropes in Dark””

  1. Buildings vs Jenga in a “I’m Not Sure That’s a Good Idea” Experiment | Flawless Hustle - Urban Culture Blog | Hiphop Blog | Graffiti & Street Art Says:

    […] “City Gropes in Dark” […]

  2. Why 1970s New York was nicknamed “Fun City” | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] a metropolis that over the next four years would endure a sanitation strike, a teacher walkout, a crippling blackout, and increasing financial […]

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