A transformer fire caused a  large-scale power outage in parts of New York City Saturday evening, knocking out traffic lights, stalling elevators and limiting subway service.

As of 8:45 p.m. Saturday, Con Edison reported that more than 45,000 customers were without power in an area that included Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority tweeted that there were outages at various underground stations and trains were bypassing stations impacted by the power failure and service into Manhattan from Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx would be limited.

Theatergoers gather under darkened marquees on Broadway.
Theatergoers gather under darkened marquees on Broadway.
(Jon Zauderer)

The A, C, F, D, and M subways lines were down, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted, adding that the utility had reported a “major disturbance” at a substation on West 49th Street. The New York City Fire Department said the fire started at West 64th Street and West End Avenue but did not say if that was the source of the outage.

Straphangers tweeted photos of blacked-out train stations and non-working traffic lights.

Social media was full of reports of ordinary citizens directing traffic at some Midtown intersections. Police officers were directing traffic at other major thoroughfares. The New York Fire Department said it received reports of people stuck in elevators on the Upper West Side and subway passengers stuck on trains

The outage occurred just before 7 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s emergency management agency was working with police and fire personnel to respond to impacted areas in a tweet from Iowa where he was on the campaign trail for the 2020 White House bid.

Saturday marked the 42nd anniversary of the 1977 blackout, which affected much of the city for 48 hours and resulted in widespread looting, arson and other criminal activities.

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This is a developing story; check back for more updates.

Categories: News

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