Terrified New Yorkers were trapped in elevators and on subway trains, Broadway shows were canceled and a J.Lo concert was halted following power outages across a large swathe of Manhattan Saturday evening.
The blackout was reported in Midtown, Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen, and other parts of Upper Manhattan, with subway stations affected and street lights out.
The New York City Fire Department said the cause of the outages, which have left more than 73,000 Con Edison customers without power, was a transformer fire which started at West 64th Street and West End Avenue on the Upper West Side.
A witness in the area reported hearing an explosion at about 7pm, and a NYFD spokesman said firefighters were on the scene of a transformer fire.
‘Members are responding to reports of numerous stuck elevators that are occupied, but there are currently no patients reported,’ the department said on Twitter.
Large parts of Times Square were without power and many of the enormous billboards were black following the outages
The screens in Times Square in New York have gone black following the power outages but it did not stop people taking photographs of the iconic sight
People are seen sitting waiting at the East River Ferry Dock while trying to find an alternative route home on Saturday night
Subway riders have been taking to Twitter to share pictures of darkened stations during the blackout. Many people were stuck on trains when the power went out
People are seen waiting inside Columbus Circle subway station following the widespread blackouts in New York on Saturday
Customers are seen in dark restaurants with on candles on their tables. The outage extended from Fifth Avenue west to the Hudson River, and from the west 40s north to 72nd Street
A subway station is in the dark during the outages. People reportedly used the flashlights on their phones to guide their way
Residential and commercial buildings are seen in darkness during the outages in New York City on Saturday night
A map shows the locations of the power outages in Manhattan on Saturday evening. 73,000 Con Edison customers lost power
It said the outage extended from Fifth Avenue west to the Hudson River, and from the west 40s north to 72nd Street.
The outage comes on the anniversary of the 1977 New York City outage that left most of the city without power.
A Jennifer Lopez concert at Madison Square Garden was halted and disappointed fans had to be evacuated.
Concert goers were met with darkness about four songs into her set about 9.30pm. The arena was later evacuated.
The superstar posted a video on Instagram and wrote: ‘Devastated and heartbroken that I can’t perform for all of you tonight. We will make this up to you, I promise! I love you!!’
Officials at Penn Station said they were using generators to help keep the power on. Many of the enormous billboards in Times Square were black and power was out in much of the Rockefeller Center.
The city’s subway system said it was working with utility Con Edison to determine the root cause of the outage, which it said was affecting Midtown and the Upper West Side.
‘Several stations are currently without power and are being bypassed by all trains,’ it posted on Twitter.
Jennifer Lopez shared a video on her Instagram apologizing after her show had to be cancelled
Jennifer Lopez is seen before the show was cancelled
A billboard in Times Square is seen without power on Saturday evening
Customers at the AMC Lincoln Square 13 movie theater are seen leaving after it lost power
ConEd said on Twitter: ‘We are responding to extensive outages on the Westside of Manhattan. We will share more information as it comes in. Thank you.’
An update from ConEd at 8.08pm read: ‘We are working to restore power to 42,000 customers primarily in the Westside of Manhattan.’
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that although no injuries have been reported ‘the fact that it happened at all is unacceptable,’ and the Department of Public Service will investigate the blackout.
Officials with Con Edison are expecting power to be restored to customers on the Upper West Side by midnight, Cuomo said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN said he had spoken with the police commissioner and the deputy commissioner who handles counterterrorism.
‘From what we’re seeing at this moment, this is simply a mechanical problem and one, again, that sounds like it is addressable in a reasonable period of time,’ de Blasio said.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wrote on Twitter that the ConEd substation on the West Side had a ‘major disturbance’ and that the utility was working on fixing it.
Most Broadway shows were cancelled Saturday night, but in true New York style, some of the performers exited the theaters and sang in the streets for disappointed ticket-holders.
The Upper West Side is dark after a transformer fire caused a power outage
Residents watch policemen and firemen gather at their apartment building
Casts from Come From Away, Waitress and Hadestown (pictured) performed for audiences waiting to be admitted
Twitter user @MarlinPie shared a video of performers outside Carnegie Hall. ‘Performers were evacuated outside of the building but they continued their performance,’ he wrote
Firefighters are pictured responding after widespread power outages were reported in parts of Manhattan
Casts from Come From Away, Waitress and Hadestown performed for audiences waiting to be admitted, according to Broadway World.
With some stations and traffic lights dark, many residents and visitors alike took to the streets and walked, according to social media posts, many of which had the hashtag #blackoutnyc.
Jeff O’Malley said he was stuck in a subway car for more than an hour.
‘We were stuck for about 75 minutes,’ said the 57-year-old consultant. ‘It’s completely dark (in the station); people were coming up using their flashlights on their phones.’
Twitter user Lizzy Aimée shared a video of firefighters entering her apartment building and wrote: ‘Can’t get up to our apt and people are stuck in the elevators!’
Videos are emerging online of volunteers directing traffic.
The outage occurred on the 42nd anniversary of a New York blackout that crippled nearly the entire city during a heat wave on July 13, 1977.
Power was not restored until the next day.
Lights at the iconic Radio City Music Hall in midtown are out following the power outrages
Power was out in much of Rockefeller Center. Firefighters are seen at 75 Rockefeller Plaza