The 1977 NYC Blackout Revisited: 10 Facts

The 1977 NYC Blackout Revisited: 10 Facts

There’s hardly anything more eerie than when an entire city skyline goes black. It will be 36 years ago tomorrow that New York City and some of its surrounding area experienced a total blackout. Here is everything you need to know about that crazy 24-hour period from July 13 at 8:37 PM until the power was finally restored the next night at 10:39 PM.


lightning1. What caused the blackout? To make a long story short, four lightning strikes in less than an hour’s time, that started at 8:37 PM. Mayor Abe Beame, incredulous of how lightning strikes could cause a total blackout, accused New York City’s power company, Con Edison of gross negligence.




son-of-sam2. The blackout occurred when the city was experiencing an austere financial crisis, its residents were fearful over the Son of Sam murders and New York was in the middle of a brutally oppressive heat wave.




jfk-lga-blackout3. LaGuardia and Kennedy airports were shut down for about eight hours. Automobile tunnels were closed because of lack of air and 4,000 people had to be evacuated from the subways.




shea-stadium-1977-blackout4. Shea Stadium went dark. With Lenny Randle at bat in the sixth inning, the New York Mets were losing 2-1 to the Chicago Cubs. The game was completed on September 16. The Mets lost, 5-2.




looting-1977-blackout5. Looting and vandalism were rampant. In all, over 1600 stores were damaged. Furniture, electronics, and piles of apparel were carried through the streets by exuberant looters.




Hip-hop-1977-blackout6. Looters stole a huge amount of DJ equipment from electronics stores. The hip hop genre, which was only in its infancy at the time, grew at a startling rate from 1977 onwards.



jails-crowded-1977-blackout7. In the largest mass arrest in New York City history, almost 4,000 people were jammed into overcrowded cells, police station basements and other makeshift holding cells.



officers-hurt-1977-blackout8. 550 police officers were injured in the pandemonium.



fires-1977-blackout9. Over 1,000 fires were responded to, including 14 multiple-alarmers.



444810. The cost of damages was estimated at a little over $300 million. The City was later given slightly over $11 million dollars by the Carter administration. Thanks Jimmy, could you spare it?


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