Observation Deck

5 Reasons the Blackout Made Us Love NYC Even More

When the lights went out in the city, people-powered goodness flickered brightly.

Photo courtesy of ABC7NY/Facebook

It was almost too cinematic to believe: Over the weekend, on the 42nd anniversary of the massive 1977 blackout that roiled New York City, another power outage struck town, leaving some 70,000 midtown New Yorkers without lights, others trapped in elevators, and many more totally trainless. This was a major Saturday night bummer. But then something incredible happened (again!)—the collective goodness of NYC’s citizenry took over and ultimately turned an event that could have been only traumatic into fleeting moments of tenderness. By the time the lights came on a few hours later, it was clear we needed to shine a new spotlight on why we love this city so much.

The show must—and did!—go on.

The blackout flicked off the power about an hour before curtain time for Broadway shows, a J.Lo concert, and other planned performances. So with audiences already gathering, some stars took to the streets to sing songs from their shows anyway. We especially love this horn-accompanied version of “Road to Hell” from Hadestown, belted by Tony winner André De Shields.


Love conquered all!

For some couples, it might be considered a bad sign to have much of the city go dark mid–wedding ceremony. Not so for Amy Rosenthal and Craig Silverstein, who turned to their friends to power back on their cell phones to light the proceedings. At the reception, guests partied down to music played on the band’s nonelectric instruments.

Neighbors helped neighbors get where they had to go.

A guy who is either a bike messenger or was doing a really good job of dressing like a bike messenger stepped into the darkening void and helped direct traffic at a busy Manhattan intersection. And he was far from alone! This level of civic camaraderie returns every time hardship hits town.


Bodegas kept their candlelit doors open.

Or as Ali Bauman, a reporter with CBS News, put it: “A 24-hour bodega is a 24-hour bodega in NYC.” That fighting, shopping spirit remains strong in the city.

Stargazing in midtown became a thing.

The dimmed skyline was catastrophic in many ways for many, many people. But in one small, golden way, it was heaven-sent: Stars (among other things!) could be seen from midtown.

Need one more reason to love NYC? We gotchu.