The curtain came down on Broadway shows, screens in Times Square went blank, subway passengers were stranded and roads gridlocked as Manhattan suffered a widespread power cut on Saturday night.
Thousands of people crowded into the streets using mobile phones to light their way, and trying to stay cool in the humid July weather, as police directed traffic using sirens and horns.
A problem at an electricity substation caused the blackout along 30 street blocks, and it lasted for several hours.
Most Broadway musicals and plays cancelled their evening shows, although some cast members staged impromptu performances in the street. Jennifer Lopez’s concert at Madison Square Garden was cut short in the middle of her fourth song of the night.
Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts were all evacuated.
Andrew Cuomo, the New York State governor, said the power cut was “unacceptable”.
He said: “You just can’t have a power outage of this magnitude in this city. It is too dangerous, the potential for public safety risk and chaos is too high – we just can’t have a system that does that.”
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, is running for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, and was in Iowa when the outage struck.
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