A MAJOR power outage in New York last night saw Manhattan ground to a halt – EXACTLY 42 years after a major blackout in 1977.
Broadway shows were cancelled and subway trains were stuck in eerie pitch-black stations after electricity went down at around 7:00pm local time (12:00am BST).
More than 40,000 homes and business were without power for five hours in the busy Midtown district – affecting millions of New Yorkers.
The area is home to dozens of theatres and the Times Square tourist hotspot – which was also plunged into darkness.
In an attempt to cheer customers, the cast from the musical Come From Away performed a song in front of the stage door.
Hadestown cast members also staged a street-side performance.
Some shows like Frozen and Moulin Rouge were among the Broadway acts to announce they had cancelled performances.
A concert at Madison Square Garden featuring Jennifer Lopez was interrupted by the power outage.
Concert-goers were left in darkness about four songs into Lopez's set about 9:30pm before the arena was evacuated.
TRAFFIC LIGHTS GO OUT
Social media users uploaded thousands of images of blacked-out traffic lights – and an unusually dark Times Square.
Thousands of people streamed out of darkened Manhattan buildings and crowded Broadway next to bumper-to-bumper traffic.
People in the Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood began directing traffic themselves as stoplights and walking signs went dark.
Restaurants were plunged into darkness and businesses reported lifts being stuck in skyscrapers as many turned to emergency power for back-up.
Power also went out at much of the famous Rockefeller Center and reached the posh Upper West Side.
Members are responding to reports of numerous stuck elevators that are occupied, but there are currently no patients reported
Engineers restored electricity to most customers and businesses just before midnight.
New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier: "We expect this to be a very short-term situation."
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority – which runs New York's subways – tweeted that there were outages at various underground stations.
New York Fire Department officials confirmed the outage was caused by an electricity transformer fire at West 64th Street and West End Avenue.
The FDNY said: "Members are responding to reports of numerous stuck elevators that are occupied, but there are currently no patients reported."
The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Con Edison – the energy company that supplies power to the city – is investigating the cause of the blackout.
A Con Edison’s outage map showed it crippled a broad stretch of Manhattan west of 5th Avenue, from W 42nd Street to W 72nd.
ANNIVERSARY OF BLACKOUT
It comes exactly 42 years to the day – and very nearly to the hour – since a famous blackout plunged New York into darkness on July 13, 1977.
Power went out throughout the city after a severe thunderstorm destroyed crucial power lines.
LOOTING AND RIOTS
It led to widespread looting and rioting – with 1,616 stores damaged and fire crews responding to 1,037 blazes.
Police made the largest mass arrest in the city's history – cuffing 3,776 people who were then stuffed into overcrowded cells, basements and makeshift pens.
The estimated damage caused to the city was put at $300million – equivalent to $1.2 billion (£950m) today.
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LaGuardia and JFK airports were closed down for about eight hours – while tunnels were closed because of lack of ventilation.
As many as 4,000 people had to be evacuated from the subway system.
Electricity was gradually restored throughout the next day.
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