The Night the Lights Went Out

Thirty years ago yesterday the lights went out in New York City. Alec and I were living in the storefront of Everything for Everybody (EFE) on 13th Street in the West Village in the meat packing warehouse district near the s&m bars down by the Hudson River. Noel was a year old and I was pregnant with Bill.


The Night the Lights Went Out

Thirty years ago tonight, the lights went out: building by building, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood. Officially, the 1977 blackout lasted only 25 hours. But it left devastated neighborhoods and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. It quickly became a symbol of New York’s malaise, arriving as it did when the city was just starting to climb out of near-bankruptcy.
Our commemoration of this anniversary includes:

  • A video, slideshow and podcast on the blackout;
  • A forum for readers’ memories;
  • Reminiscences by Times reporters Robert D. McFadden, Joyce Purnick, Ralph Blumenthal, James Barron and photographer Chester Higgins Jr.;
  • Answers by the authors James Goodman and Jonathan Mahler to questions from readers.

On Monday, we asked City Room readers for their reminiscences of the 1977 blackout. You responded with richly detailed stories, an urban tapestry of those two hot and hectic days.

Everyone seemed to remember where they were when the blackout started.

Read The Night the Lights Went Out
by Sewell Chan ~ New York Times ~ July 13, 2007


So what I remember most is that everyone was out in the street and friendly. We were all sitting in chairs and on stoops in the heat, trying to stay cool.

Its not about the blackout, but you can read more about Everything for Everybody by Alec. Among other things it includes the story of how we met.

See the old EFE building at 406 W 13th St, New York, NY 10014.
(Click on “Street View” and move the yellow figure’s x over the arrow’s point. Spin around in the street to see where we lived and worked.)

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