Authorities were scrambling to restore electricity to Manhattan, N.Y., following a power outage that knocked out Times Square’s towering electronic screens and darkened marquees in the theater district and left businesses without electricity, elevators stuck and subway cars stalled.
The New York City Fire Department said a transformer fire at West 64th Street and West End Avenue affected more than 44,000 customers along a 30-block stretch from Times Square to about 72nd Street and Broadway.
Officials with Con Edison later tweeted that they were working to restore electricity to customers and businesses primarily on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
The temperature was warm, above 80 even as the sun set, but not as steaming as Manhattan can get in July.
Power reportedly went out early Saturday evening at much of Rockefeller Center and reached the Upper West Side.
At Rockefeller Center, traffic lights were out. Some buildings in Rockefeller Plaza have lights on, others were dark.
The outage comes on the anniversary of the 1977 New York City outage that left most of the city without power.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN said he had spoken with the police commissioner and the deputy commissioner who handles counterterrorism.
“From what we’re seeing at this moment, this is simply a mechanical problem and one, again, that sounds like it is addressable in a reasonable period of time,” de Blasio said.
Many Broadway musicals and plays canceled their Saturday evening shows, including Hadestown, which last month won the Tony Award for best musical. Several cast members from the show put on an impromptu performance in the street outside the theater for disappointed audience members.
Emily Totero, 30, planned to bring out-of-town guests to see Moulin Rouge. But once they got to the theater district, they saw the power go out.
“You could see all the theater lights across the street, all the marquees went out. That’s what we noticed first,” she said.
Some shows like Frozen were among the Broadway shows to announce it had cancelled performances.
People in Hell’s Kitchen began directing traffic themselves as traffic lights and walking signs went dark.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority tweeted that there were outages at various underground stations.
The Con Edison utility said it was working to restore power to 42,000 customers and would provide updates as it got them.