Big Apple goes dark as power outage strikes New York city

Jennifer Lopez ‘devastated’ to cancel show after power cut

A wide swath of New York's Manhattan borough was plunged into darkness following a transformer explosion, knocking out power to subways, stores and Broadway theatres, for five hours on Saturday evening. Video: Reute


New York’s Times Square fell dark and subway trains halted as Manhattan was struck by a power cut.

Authorities scrambled to restore electricity to Manhattan following a power outage which darkened marquees in the theatre district and left businesses without electricity.

The outage forced Jennifer Lopez to cancel her performance at Madison Square Garden and caused subways to be stopped and tens of thousands of homes to lose electricity.

The New York city fire department said a transformer fire on Saturday evening at West 64th Street and West End Avenue affected more than 44,000 customers along a 30-block stretch from Times Square to about 72nd Street and Broadway.

Officials with Con Edison later tweeted that they were working to restore electricity to customers and businesses primarily on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Power reportedly went out early Saturday evening at much of Rockefeller Centre and reached the Upper West Side.

At Rockefeller Centre, traffic lights were out while some buildings in Rockefeller Plaza had lights on and others were dark.

The outage comes on the anniversary of the 1977 New York City outage that left most of the city without power.


Jennifer Lopez said she was heartbroken after being forced to cancel her planned show at Madison Square Garden, and apologised to the audience, who had to be evacuated from the venue.

The singer promised fans their “money’s worth” and vowed to return to the venue to perform.

In a video posted on Twitter in the early hours of Sunday morning, she said: “I am devastated and heartbroken right now.

“I cannot tell you, on the second night of performing at Madison Square Garden, after such amazing first night, I just don’t even know what to say.

“I just want to tell you guys to know that you are going to get your money’s worth, we are going to come back and we are going to do an amazing show for you, and I’m so sorry that this happened.

“Obviously it was beyond all our control.”

Lopez posted online again later in the morning, saying that if all went to plan she could return to the famous New York venue on Monday to perform for the fans left disappointed by the blackout.

The singer said: “No blackouts this time. We will have the most amazing celebration ever.”

Jennifer Lopez, who has said she was heartbroken after being forced to cancel her planned show at Madison Square Garden after a power cut in New York. Photograph: PA/PA Wire
Jennifer Lopez, who has said she was heartbroken after being forced to cancel her planned show at Madison Square Garden after a power cut in New York. Photograph: PA/PA Wire


Many Broadway musicals and plays cancelled their Saturday evening shows, including Hadestown, which last month won the Tony Award for best musical.

Several cast members from the show put on an impromptu performance in the street outside the theatre for disappointed audience members.

Emily Totero (30) planned to bring out-of-town guests to see Moulin Rouge, but once they got to the theatre district, they saw the power go out.

“You could see all the theatre lights across the street, all the marquees went out. That’s what we noticed first,” she said.

Some shows like Frozen were among the Broadway shows to announce it had cancelled performances.

When the lights went out early on Saturday evening, thousands of people streamed out of darkened Manhattan buildings, crowding Broadway next to bumper-to-bumper traffic.

People in Hell’s Kitchen began directing traffic themselves as stoplights and walking signs went dark.

Ginger Tidwell, a dance teacher and Upper West Side resident, was about to order at the West Side diner on Broadway and West 69th Street just before 7pm.

“When the lights started flickering, and then were out,” she said.

“We got up and left, walking up Broadway with all the traffic lights out and businesses dark.”

But once they got to West 72nd Street, they found another diner that was open and had power.

“It was still sunny and everyone just came out to the street because they lost power and air conditioning – it was super-crowded,” she said.

“Everyone was hanging out on the street on a nice night. All you could hear was fire trucks up and down Broadway. All of Broadway was without traffic lights.”