New York power cut: Supply restored in Manhattan

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People walk down a street of Manhattan after a power outage hit the borough in New York City on July 13, 2019. - Subway stations plunged into darkness and the billboards of Times Square suddenly flicked off as New York's Manhattan was hit by a power outage on Saturday. About 42,000 customers lost electricity in the early evening, according to the Con Edison utility, which did not give a reason for the cut. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Power has now been restored to all customers after a power failure in New York halted subway trains and trapped people in lifts on Saturday evening.

Energy company Con Edison said more than 70,000 homes and businesses lost power in Manhattan, the most densely populated of the city’s five boroughs.

The outage lasted for about five hours.

It came on the anniversary of a massive power failure in 1977 that plunged the New York skyline into darkness and triggered widespread looting and arson.

Shortly before midnight (04:00 GMT Sunday) Con Edison head John MacAvoy said all six networks which had been affected were now up and running.

He said the problem appeared to have originated at a substation, but the cause was being investigated.

The widespread power cut extended from Fifth Avenue west to the Hudson River, and from the West 40s north to 72nd Street, the fire department said.

Traffic lights are out near Times Square area
Image captionThe blackout brought traffic to a standstill in parts of New York

It put street lights and traffic lights out of action and forced the evacuation of buildings across the borough.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the New York Police Department had confirmed there was no foul play. “This was a mechanical issue,” he wrote on Twitter.

Alex Hammerli, 26, was on his way to a bar when the blackout began.

“No subway for 45 blocks and half the trains not running. It’s kind of annoying. I’m also surprised that people aren’t unleashing their crazy [side] yet. The cops are just trying to shut down the roads,” he told the BBC.

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View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

A number of Saturday night shows were cancelled, with theatregoers left waiting in the streets outside venues.

The cast of the musical Hadestown entertained people waiting outside the Walter Kerr Theatre.

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!!

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) advised travellers to avoid sub-surface trains, after some passengers were stranded below ground for over an hour.

“We were stuck for about 75 minutes,” Jeff O’Malley, 57, told Reuters news agency. “It’s completely dark, people were coming up using their flashlights on their phones.”

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