NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Power has been restored after a large outage struck Midtown, Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen, and other parts of Upper Manhattan.
CBS2 began to hear reports that that all restaurants had gone dark in Hell’s Kitchen around 7 p.m. Saturday evening – 42 years to the day after the famous 1977 blackout in New York City.
By midnight, just under five hours after thousands lost power, electricity was fully restored throughout the city.
At around 10 p.m. Saturday night, CBS2 began to receive multiple reports that lights have begun to come back on around Midtown. CBS2’s Alice Gainer was near Columbus Circle as traffic lights began to come online. Power was also restored to the CBS2 studios, which had also been affected by the outage.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted shortly after 10 p.m. to say that Con Edison is working to have all six sections of Manhattan that were affected restored by midnight.
During a press conference with the city’s Office of Emergency Management and officials from Con Edison, authorities said 73,000 customers had lost power due to the outage. Loud cheers rang out as power was restored to another of the darkened sections – bringing five of the six back online at that point.
WEB EXTRA – OEM and Con Edison officials provide the latest details on the Manhattan outage as power begins to be restored:
OEM officials said the root cause of the blackout is not yet known, but it was not due to extensive power use on the hot summer day. Authorities do not expect any more outages throughout the night.
The FDNY earlier reported that they are receiving calls from residents without power in the West 40s all the way north to 72nd Street and from Fifth Avenue west to the Hudson River.
Police and fire department sources tell CBS2 that the cause of the failure appears to be a feeder cable problem below ground at 64th Street and West End Ave. A transformer fire at that location may be to blame for the massive outage.
Mayor de Blasio tweeted just after 8:20 p.m. – saying that both police and fire officials were responding to the affected area and that the “disruption is significant.”
The mayor then spoke with CBS2’s Jessica Moore live from the presidential campaign trail in Iowa and addressed the ongoing emergency:
Fortunately, the mayor said that first responders have not received an reports of injuries due to the blackout. De Blasio is also reportedly returning to New York City Saturday night to deal with the crisis; pausing his latest 2020 fundraising trip out of state.
The power outage struck on the same day, July 13, as the 1977 blackout. That outage happened when lightning struck electrical equipment resulting in a blackout that lasted 25 hours. The darkness was filled with thousands of crimes, but only one homicide.
Authorities say there is no indication of intentional sabotage or an act of terrorism involved with the blackout.
The FDNY said they had to prioritize life threatening and public safety emergency calls earlier in the night due to the number of people calling 911, but they are now back to normal operation as of 9:30 p.m.
The MTA is reporting major system disruptions heading into Sunday due to the power outage. Multiple lines, including the A, C, M, and Q lines are suspended or have had their route altered. For the latest on the subway service changes, click here.
CBS2’s Alice Gainer was at one of the subway stations in Midtown where power has completely gone out.
Gainer also hit the road to see how drivers are handling the dangerous traffic conditions on Manhattan’s West Side Highway.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman was in Midtown Saturday evening, where pedestrians and drivers are dealing with the mass confusion caused by the downed traffic lights.
New Yorkers are also calling for help through social media, as at least one person has been trapped in an elevator by the outage. Richard R. O’Connor tweeted from his elevator in Manhattan Saturday evening.
Broadway shows also went dark on Saturday, but that didn’t keep performers from putting on a show for New Yorkers outside the theaters. The Carnegie Hall choir even put on an impromptu concert in the streets of Manhattan.
As many officials tweeted throughout the night, the crisis brought that best in New Yorkers, many of whom were photographed helping to direct traffic and assist people stuck in elevators. Even tourists who weren’t familiar with Manhattan pitched in to lend a hand.
“We’ve been lost over the past three days, and we’ve reached out for help on subways trying to navigate the streets, and everyone has been overwhelmingly wonderful and helpful to us, so we’re paying it forward,” Jennica Reynolds of Middleton, Idaho said.
Stay with CBS New York for the latest on this developing story