New Yorkers Made The Best Of A Massive Blackout With Sidewalk Performances, A Cookout, And Streetside Hangouts
Resilient New Yorkers knew how to make the most of a dark situation.
A massive blackout hit Manhattan's West Side just before 7 p.m. Saturday, leaving tens of thousands of New Yorkers in the dark.
The outage halted subways and cut power to elevators, streetlights, and the iconic billboards in Times Square. Around 72,000 customers were affected for about three hours, Con Edison said in a press release. The power company told the New York Times that the outage was due to a problem at a substation — but that the cause would not be clear until an investigation was completed.
People flooded the streets, passengers in downed subway cars and elevators were stuck for a time, and traffic went to an even slower-than-usual crawl.
Still, resilient New Yorkers knew how to make the most of a dark situation.
Since the outage happened an hour before curtain time for many Broadway shows, from Hamilton to The Lion King, theaters had to cancel — leading to sidewalk performances from wildly talented cast members trying to cheer up their disappointed audiences and passersby.
Like André De Shields, who plays Hermes in Hadestown, who sang a blackout-themed impromptu number based on “Road to Hell,” the Broadway show’s opening song.
Or the cast of Hamilton, who serenaded a crowd from the windows of the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
The cast of Waitress sang to a crowded street while waiting for the official announcement that their show would be canceled.
At the Come From Away venue, the cast and the band performed the show's opener, "Welcome to the Rock."
And as the sun went down on the city, a concert suddenly started in the middle of the street outside an evacuated Carnegie Hall.
The cast of Rock of Ages, an off-Broadway production, launched into parts of their show for confused audience members outside their theater.
Martine Sainvil, a spokesperson for the Broadway League, told BuzzFeed News in an email that ticket holders could check their point of purchase for information about refunds and exchanges. Theaters were currently checking equipment, and the status of Sunday's shows would be announced soon, she added.
In the city's famous Times Square, billboards had their blinding advertisements put out, and traffic lights went dark.
Meanwhile, regular people started to direct traffic while waiting for the police to assume their stations at chaotic intersections.
Strangely enough, the blackout happened the same date as the city's large power failure in 1977. So a new generation of New Yorkers learned how to deal with suddenly being in the dark — like these guys having a cookout on a newspaper box.