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NYC blackout reactions included big question: ‘Where’s de Blasio?’ – Metro US

NYC blackout reactions included big question: ‘Where’s de Blasio?’

nyc blackout 2019

Reactions to the West Side blackout that hit New York City shortly before sunset on Saturday night ranged from Broadway’s storied show-must-go-on resilience to the unusual question, “Where is the mayor?”

When TV news coverage began, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson was the de facto city spokesperson, providing updates via Twitter and on-air interviews. Mayor Bill de Blasio was campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in Waterloo, Iowa, and didn’t appear on camera until well after the power outage began.

Although de Blasio appeared up-to-date on the circumstances behind the blackout — a mechanical failure at a Con Edison substation around 6:47pm set off a chain of outages, ultimately dimming 30 blocks along Broadway, Rockefeller Center and Times Square — and its status as the night wore on, that didn’t prevent Gov. Andrew Cuomo from getting in a dig. “Mayors are important and situations like this come up,” he said Saturday night on CNN. “And you have to be on site.”

Cuomo deployed stateState troopers during the outage and said on Sunday that he would tour the transformer that caused the power failure, the Associated Press reported. “We have to have a system that is designed to handle disruptions and rather than domino, we have a redundancy in this system so this doesn’t happen,” Cuomo said. “And that’s what we’re going to work on and I want to see with my own Queens eyes the transformer that started it all.”

De Blasio ultimately elected to travel back to New York City late Saturday night. In the meantime, the estimated number of those affected ticked upward: From 27,000 around 7:30 to 38,000, before an estimate of 90,000 at 10 p.m. shrank to the official number of 72,000.

On social media, not a few city residents pointed out an eerie coincidence: That night, July 13, was the 42nd anniversary of the infamous 1977 blackout which lasted 25 hours and led to looting throughout the five boroughs.

This time, the story was much different. Traffic lights went out, but Good Samaritans sprang into action to direct traffic. Multiple reports of stalled subway trains and stuck elevators resolved without reports of serious injuries. According to the MTA, five subway trains carrying 2,875 riders were trapped in Manhattan subway tunnels, but all were evacuated by 9 p.m. without incident.

Cast members from canceled Broadway musicals gathered in the streets outside their darkened theaters, giving impromptu concerts. A Jennifer Lopez concert at Madison Square Garden lost power and the arena was evacuated, leading Lopez to tweet a video in which she said she was “emotional” and “devastated.” Bargoers continued to drink in the dark.

By midnight, power had been restored. And on Sunday morning, it was de Blasio who was doing most of the cleanup, defending his whereabouts on CNN.

“I’m responsible for making sure everything in New York City is handled quickly and well,” de Blasio said. “The whole team responded immediately the way everyone is trained to do.”

“When you’re a mayor or a governor, you’re going to travel for a variety of reasons,” de Blasio said. “The important thing is to have the hand on the wheel and make sure things are moving effectively and communicate to people even from where I was. I was able to do that right away with the people in New York City.”

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