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Re: THE FIRST BIG NORTHEAST BLACKOUT 1965


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Posted by Nate Goldman on Sunday, July 14th 2019:

In Reply to: THE FIRST BIG NORTHEAST BLACKOUT 1965 posted by dave f on Sunday, July 14th 2019:

I remember the November 9, 1965 blackout very well; I was 21 years old, and it occurred about 5:25PM, on a Tuesday evening. I had earlier returned home by subway from the Baruch College, on 23rd St., in Manhattan. I was studying, when all of a sudden, the lights started to flicker. It was very cold that night, and it was already dark outside. The flickering did not last more than a few seconds. However, our lights stayed on. At no time during that entire 1965 blackout, were we without power, at our home, at 793 Westminster Road. There were parts of Brooklyn, including my area, which were not impacted by that blackout. I later found out that because of the configuration of Con Ed's electrical grid, our power was somehow rerouted from Staten Island, which received its power from New Jersey. During that emergency, nearby utility companies would lend power to other companies. However, there were neighborhoods in close proximity to our home, which had no power. We were extremely fortunate, as my three brothers and my Mother, and Grandparents, were all home at the time. My Father was not so fortunate, as both he and my Uncle had to walk down eight flights of stairs, at 5 Union Square, in Manhattan, using flashlights. Then, after waiting for a while, in the freezing cold, a friend brought his car, and gave them a ride to Brooklyn. I believe that my Father came home around 7:30PM; in retrospect, he and my Uncle were very fortunate that a friend gave them a ride home, and they didn't have to be stranded overnight in Manhattan. There were all sorts of rumors going around that sabotage was involved. The next morning, there were newspapers available, as the NY Daily News, NY Times, and other papers were able to use the services of printing plants in New Jersey, which had power. The headlines of the Daily News showed a cartoon of NYC, with an electrical plug being unplugged, which stated "PROGRESS-1965". I happened to walk by a small electrical substation owned by ConEd, which was located around Avenue I, and E. 17th St. I saw a Patrolman from the 70th Precinct standing guard, in front of that substation. It should be noted that everyone was very helpful to each other during that blackout, including people helping stranded passengers off stalled subway cars, giving people rides, directing traffic, and otherwise being civil. Hotels opened up their dining rooms, and people were served by candle lights. Some fourteen years later, in 1979, while on vacation in Niagara Falls, Ontario, I happened to mention to our Canadian guide that the 1965 Blackout started in Ontario, Canada, near Niagara Falls. It was caused by a failure of a protective relay on one of the transmission lines of the Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Power Station, near the area of the falls. The Canadian guide became very defensive (perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned what occurred), and blamed the blackout on the USA. Fast forward to the year 2003, when a larger blackout struck not only the entire Northeast, but also parts of the Midwest and Canada. At that time, the Mayor of NYC blamed the blackout on Canada. In fact, the 2003 blackout started in my adoptive state of Ohio, where some overgrown trees interfered with a transmission line, causing a massive cascading effect.

Reference ID: BK95875



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