Verena Dobnik and Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
Published Saturday, 13 July 2019 20: 20 EDT
Last updated Saturday, 13 July 2019 23:27 EDT
NEW YORK – A power outage has paralyzed the heart full of Manhattan tourists just as Saturday night Broadway shows were destined to continue, sending spectators to pour into the streets, knocking down Times' giant electronic screens Square and bringing the subway lines into a nearby stop.
The New York Fire Department said a transformer fire on West 64th Street and West End Avenue hit hundreds of thousands of customers along a 30-block stretch from Times Square to about 72nd Street and Broadway.
The fire took place just before 7pm. Saturday, the authorities said.
Later, officials from Con Edison stated that they were working to restore electricity to customers and companies mainly in the Upper West Side of Manhattan by midnight.
The temperature was warm, above 80 even when the sun was setting, but not as steaming as Manhattan can get in July.
Reportedly, the power was released early Saturday night in much of Rockefeller Center and reached the Upper West Side.
At the Rockefeller Center, the traffic lights were out. Some buildings of the Rockefeller Plaza had lights on, others were dark.
The break comes in the anniversary of the 1977 New York City break that left most of the city without energy.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that, although no injuries have been reported, "the fact that it happened entirely is unacceptable" and the Department of Public Administration will investigate the interruption of hours.
Many Broadway musicals and plays have canceled their Saturday evening shows, including "Hadestown", which won the Tony Award for Best Musical last month. Several members of the show's cast made an impromptu performance in the street outside the theater for disappointing members of the public.
Emily Totero, 30, has planned to take guests out of town to see "Moulin Rouge". But once they got to the theater district, they saw the power go out.
"You could see all the lights of the theater from the other side of the street, all the tents were off. This is what we noticed before," he said.
Some shows like "Frozen" were among the Broadway shows to announce that he had canceled performances.
The interruption came to Madison Square Garden where Jennifer Lopez performed Saturday night. The participants said that the concert went into darkness around 9:30 in the afternoon. in the middle of the fourth song of Lopez's night. The arena was subsequently evacuated. And at Penn Station, officials used backup generators to keep the lights on.
When the lights went out early Saturday evening, thousands of people came out of the darkened Manhattan buildings, crowding Broadway near the bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The people of Hell's Kitchen started directing traffic on their own as traffic lights and the street signs darkened.
Ginger Tidwell, a dance teacher and resident of the Upper West Side, was about to order at the West Side restaurant on Broadway and West 69th Street just before 7pm.
"When the lights started to flicker, and then they were out," he said. "We got up and walked out, walking on Broadway with all the traffic lights and dark businesses."
But once they arrived at West 72nd Street, they found another restaurant that was open and had power.
"It was still sunny and everyone went out into the street because they lost power and air conditioning, it was very crowded," he said. "Everybody had appeared on the street on a beautiful evening. All that felt the fireworks up and down Broadway, all of Broadway was without traffic lights."
Karen Janowsky, a poncho salesman at a street fair on Sixth Avenue in Rockefeller Center was trapped in the blackout just as he was about to close the day and bring some of the goods to his car parked in a garage two blocks away on 49th Street . This prevented her from driving her car to take the tables, chairs and shelves – all stolen before she could run back to get them
"I was alone and couldn't get it all, so they stole my things," he said, adding that he had no idea who the people who had taken them were. "It was chaos, with the fire trucks and the people filling the streets, when the lights went out, I was a minute from the car's arrival in the garage."
He lost about $ 400 of installation equipment for his assets.
"I've been stuck for the last three hours," Janowsky. "I have another fair tomorrow, and I don't know what I will do."
Associated Press reporters Michael Sisak and Leezel Tanglao contributed to this report.