NYC Blackout 1977

On July 13, 1977, a series of lightning strikes at Buchanan South, a substation on the Hudson River, resulted in a 2 day electricity blackout covering all five boroughs of New York City.

The city, in the midst of a brutal heatwave, financial difficulties and Son of Sam induced tension, struggled to cope with widespread arson, vandalism and looting. Because the blackout began at night, most stores and businesses were unattended by owners.

In Crown Heights, 75 stores on a five-block stretch were looted.
Thirty-five blocks of Broadway were destroyed.
Thieves stole 50 new Pontiacs from a Bronx car dealership.
In Brooklyn, youths used their cars to pull the grates away before looting a store.
550 police officers were injured.
4,500 looters were arrested.
1,616 stores were damaged from looting and rioting.
LaGuardia and Kennedy airports were closed down for approx eight hours.
4,000 people had to be evacuated from the subway system.
For much of July 14, most of the television stations in New York City were off the air.

Interesting cultural impact: During the blackout, many looters stole DJ equipment from electronics stores. As a result, the little-known hip hop genre grew at an astounding rate from 1977 onward.