Yesterday, we became helpless, sad little babies.
I was at the office, mid-email, when all the power to the whole complex went out. We were lost! There were no phones, no computers, no faxes, people had to pee in pitch black (and the janitorial crew was not happy about that, let me tell you...) What the hell were we gonna do??? We were forced to *gasp* talk to each other. It was great. We played table top bowling and has wheely chair races. But by three I knew I could get some work done if I headed home, so off I went.
With all of our technology, we were helpless with electricity. We handled it pretty well in the end but history has showed up that not everyone can stay calm.
In the middle of July, 1977 New York City had a major, city wide black out. Unlike the black outs of 1965 and 2003, the people of NYC in 77 went ape shit and destroyed their neighborhoods, looted and set fire to anything that would catch.
Let me set the scene... It's hotter than hell, the economy is crap and the son of Sam was running around all willy nilly shooting young people. And it's New York so everyone is already a little crazy. (sorry Taylor but you know it's a little true.) The lights go out and people lose their shit...
Looting in the poorest neighborhoods was rampant, and with so much insanity and emergencies involving people, property took a back seat. Crown Heights suffered some of the most looting while Bushwick nearly burnt to the ground. Fifty new cars were stolen from a single dealership. Chains were tied around store front gates, then to cars and torn from the building to gain access to stores. Over four thousand people were arrested. Both airports were shut down, people evacuated from subways and tunnels. Knife wounds and fist fight injuries came in all night at local hospitals. After all was said and done and the numbers tallied, three hundred million dollars in damage was caused... don't forget, this is 1977 dollars. With inflation, that makes it roughly one BILLION, fifteen million dollars.
And all this cause by a loose nut at the Hudson river substation. That and some bad decisions.
Not that it was ALL bad... with stolen DJ equipment, young up and coming rappers were able to get started. It's also an urban legend that the birthrate went up 35% due to the blackout. When its dark, what else are you gonna do?
In 2003 there was another bigger blackout (almost the ENTIRE state of NY and up through Canada) but people held it together. There were of course some instances of stupid jerks who wanted to start some trouble but it was nothing like 1977. Bars stayed open so commuters and locals could enjoy the night. Restaurants took their perishable/fresh everything, cooked it and just gave it away since it was going to spoil anyway. The Indigo Girls played in The Park with generators and food cooked with propane. In all, it was a pretty happy time.
Our little blackout was nothing compared to those but it's good to know that if were are capable of riots and looting, we are also capable of good food and parties.