666 LaundromatSatan's Laundromat

Blackout!

08/15/03

Wow.

You know, I've always had a peculiar desire to live through natural disasters -- not ones with loss of life, but anything that shakes people up from their normal routines. I was disappointed that there were no major earthquakes when I lived in California, but I enjoyed the minor ones. And this? This was fantastic.

Times Square turned down a notch
Times Square!

In my office, the power didn't go out so much as it started rapidly cycling off and on. After a dozen cycles or so, I yanked my computer's surge protector out of the wall. We spent 20 minutes or so trying to figure out what was going on; I first started to worry when I looked out the window at the Times Square video screens and noticed they were off. We quickly learned that the power was off in Albany, Cleveland, Ontario (Ontario!), and I began looting. (I only looted cold soda from the office, despite a popular suggestion that we hit the diamond district on 47th.)

I would have stuck around to see if the power came back, but I had a 6-mile walk ahead of me and I wanted to get home before dark, so I set out. Times Square was chaos, with people poring over bus maps as if they were alien artifacts.

Man with Queens bus map

Then down Broadway, which was overrun with pedestrians, as far as Union Square, where it became impassable and I cut over to 4th Avenue and then the Bowery. People employed some novel means of transportation.

People on sidewalk

Person on scooter

I couldn't help but notice that this view down Sixth Avenue was a bit different the last time this many people had to walk home.

Chaos on Sixth Avenue

Go loot!

Chaotic bus stop

I made it to the Manhattan Bridge, which was madness -- two lanes of cars and about seven lanes of pedestrians, sometimes overlapping -- and saw people being evacuated from two stuck W trains, two hours after the power went out.

Pedestrians on Manhattan Bridge

Traffic on the FDR Drive

Train evacuation

Flatbush Avenue was a zoo, as you'd expect.

Selling water on Flatbush Avenue

The worst part? I dropped off my laundry, including my sheets, at the 666 Laundromat in the morning, and I could see it taunting me through the bars on the windows when I got home.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time...

Ice cream truck with line of customers

Or the opposite.

Crowded bus, sign reading NEXT BUS PLEASE

Looting? Nah, just hungry Brooklynites the morning after.

Almost-empty donut case

Bottled water and newspapers

My power came back on at 8 a.m. today, the laundromat was open, and the office has that we're-all-in-it-together feel to it. Actually, all of New York has that feel to it. I do wonder when the power will go back on below 42nd Street, though.

Elsewhere: I'm amazed by the people hitching a ride on the back of a bus at Gothamist, which also has some amazing aerial photos of a darkened New York. The closest I saw was people riding in the back of a 20-foot truck with the rear door open.

12:39 PM | Comments (54) | TrackBack (12)

Comments

awesome work! Thanks!

Posted by: tyd at August 15, 2003 01:02 PM

great pics, hope your laundry is released soon :)

Posted by: johnny at August 15, 2003 01:11 PM

Glad to see someone else enjoys natural disruptions of human life. No need to see anyone perish, but just something to remind us all that we really *aren't* in charge. That's good fun.

Posted by: ~bc at August 15, 2003 11:20 PM

Great Pictures,,everyone seemed unpanicked by it all..I was visiting from Florida and made it back to Patchogue,ny with my niece just in time..we sat and had beers and had a campfire in her backyard..it was great..

Posted by: GEORGE at August 21, 2003 01:52 PM

Satan's laundromat? 666???

*scared in Cleveland, OH*

:)

Posted by: Siu Yan Scott at August 21, 2003 02:41 PM

9/11 is without a doubt the most hideous and callous act ever brought upon NYC and the Nation as a whole, but harbor no illusions, it also brought forth an obligitory and compassionate conscience in everyone toward their city, and their neighbor.Outstanding job NYC...You are indeed the Big Apple. ;o)

Posted by: BLUE at August 21, 2003 04:54 PM

I am not responsible for Yahoo! Picks, but agree with the choice...

Posted by: cat at August 21, 2003 05:40 PM

I thought that the pictures were great and the captions were good, but I dont get the name. Care to explain?

Posted by: tld at August 21, 2003 05:46 PM

I very much agree with Siu Yan Scott and tld....what is up with that name?

Posted by: sjb at August 22, 2003 03:12 AM

This is to remind the people of how the post-rapture experience would be even worse.

Posted by: ajg at August 22, 2003 09:40 AM

And while we're on the subject of fiction, imagine a Jurassic Park-style rampaging dinosaur attack on New York City. Now that would be sweet.

Posted by: Mike at August 22, 2003 10:10 AM

Great Pics! Loved the titles. It just goes to show you that people can work together and get along in a crisis without a bunch of looting and horrible actions.

Posted by: marlene at August 24, 2003 05:09 AM

i waz there i dont see myself in any of the pictures.................it waz a time 2 remember

Posted by: Suzy at August 24, 2003 07:52 PM

New Yorkers were helpful, patient and well behaved - I made it home in 4 hours. Cari Feliciano

Posted by: Cari at August 25, 2003 09:41 AM

New Yorkers were helpful, patient and well behaved - I made it home in 4 hours. Cari Feliciano

Posted by: Cari at August 25, 2003 09:41 AM

they blame it on first energy in cleveland, ohio YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Posted by: tom at August 25, 2003 01:40 PM

Walker Percy wrote that everyone loves a disaster. He recognized that it brings out the community's best in the end.

Posted by: John at August 27, 2003 01:42 PM

I am located on Canada's East Coast and found your site after coming across another one with a link to your pictures of NY's blackout the other week. I must say, your site is wonderful and I have enjoyed reading it and admiring the pictures.

Posted by: FallenAngel at August 28, 2003 10:18 AM

Great pictures and your comments were right on. but us folks up in the Catsills didn't see power till friday afternoon.

Posted by: Andrea at August 29, 2003 06:29 AM

Yahoo always sends me Weekly Pic and I always delete them without a thought. I'm really glad I stopped to look at what they actually send me. Your pictures and stories are great. Hope you always keep us posted.

Posted by: Jackie at August 30, 2003 08:10 PM

The blackout was such an amazing look on how compansionate and helpful to others we can be in a crisis situation. I am proud to see my fellow New Yorkers never forgot the important lesson that was taught by the 9/11 tragedy.

Posted by: Rahmik at September 3, 2003 06:23 AM

I live in East Cleveland, OH our lights were out and we could not get in our house for 2.5 hours because we use our garage, I was suppose to leave for New York that Friday morning but I could not finish packing due to the lights being out. I left Friday afternoon and our lights came back on at 8 a.m that morning...it made history.

Posted by: Ronelle at September 4, 2003 02:20 PM

Thanks for a look at New York and the life there even when there is a disaster be it only a power failure.
I live on the Gold Coast of Queensland Australia, where our population is soon to be 460,000. We spend our leisure time at the beach 9 months of the year surfing and swimming. The main beach is Surfers Paradise, and it lives up to its name.
Thanks again for this interlude into your life.

Posted by: Johnnie at September 11, 2003 08:27 PM

Thanks for a look at New York and the life there even when there is a disaster be it only a power failure.
I live on the Gold Coast of Queensland Australia, where our population is soon to be 460,000. We spend our leisure time at the beach 9 months of the year surfing and swimming. The main beach is Surfers Paradise, and it lives up to its name.
Thanks again for this interlude into your life.

Posted by: Johnnie at September 11, 2003 08:27 PM

Hi I'm from Mexico. I have to say that your page is really cool. I enjoyed it very much. The pictures from the blackout are really cool. I hope it won't happen again. Godd bye and keep uploading pictures.

Posted by: Sebastian at September 15, 2003 12:36 AM

I was looking for flashmobs and came across your glorious sight. I truly enjoy the photos...(sigh) they make me quite homesick. Since I am only 80 miles away in Philly, I think I will be in Brooklyn to see my family this weekend thanks to you.

Posted by: Robin Rock at September 18, 2003 01:54 PM

I lived in the Bronx in '55. Your pictures made me nostalgic. You remind me of Ansel Adams who went around the USA taking pictures.

Posted by: Jose Luis at September 28, 2003 08:21 AM

I have got a question! Do you have pics from the Blackout at night?

Posted by: MIchael Fle├čl at December 27, 2003 07:38 AM

I have a really good pic of the black out from space, if you want it e-mail me.

Posted by: Jo at January 11, 2004 03:10 PM

I was in the city that day!! I was so angry at myself for choosing not to bring my camera...
The power went off about 5 minutes before I made it to grand central where I thought I would be on my way home...so for me I guess I was in the right place at the right time, had I left just a little earlier I would have been trapped on a train rather than outside experiencing the madness =)

Posted by: Johanna at June 5, 2004 02:43 AM

Missed it! I was at "crip-camp" in the Poconos but my wife was in Hoboken NJ and described the total chaos of people trying to find alternate-ways of transportation.
The pics are just GREAT! I love the one where only a taki and some cars a mile apart are traveling either in the Herny Hudson Parkway or other higway.
Once again cameras were there to report for posterity!
Luis
Hoboken NJ

Posted by: Luis at June 13, 2004 06:46 PM

awesome chronology of the events. it was amazing how freaked out people were in the beginning when they thought that ny was under attack again.

Posted by: aaron at July 12, 2004 01:02 PM

me like picture of da donut!!!

Posted by: doo at October 24, 2004 09:57 PM

lol, I love NYC, my hometown. wicked pics? looooooooooooooooool

Posted by: ria at November 15, 2004 07:48 PM

interesting photos. especially since the guy on the scooter is ME!!!....

Posted by: Zalmen at December 20, 2004 05:06 PM

great pix! i was living in the village the summer of '78 when we had a blackout. i went out on the street with my roommate but it was REALLY dark - it suddenly hit us that there were no lights - no traffic lights, no nothing except a few brave or desperate drivers who drove slow, stopping at every corner. shops of course were closed. balducci's on 6th avenue had candles on the shelves, as i recall, and was trying to sell perishables fast, but wasn't letting customers into the depths of the shop, i guess because it was dark! i wanted to hang out on the darkened streets, but it was scary, too, because you really couldn't see anything. someone with a flashlight could be dangerous!

thanks for prompting the memories and for the fascinating show.

lil

Posted by: Lil at January 10, 2005 02:46 AM

Took me six hours to walk from 87th street down to the ferry. Everyone was so patient and laid back. Amazing experience.
I love New York!

Posted by: Jenn at January 31, 2005 03:30 PM

I was 6 mos. pregnant with twins and I had to get from the East Village to WillyB. Halfway across the bridge,another pregnant woman clutched my arm...she had a wet napkin on her forehead. "You go girl!! We're gonna make it" she shouted...what a riot. It was a good drill for the city. We were proving that we could handle anything that could be thrown at us.

Posted by: trish at February 7, 2005 08:32 PM

i know someone that has been studing satan and its father and daughter,and they lay together, and suck blood on each other and i am married to him now but i am getting a divorce. and i am trying real hard not to fall into their trap. satan is dark and i wish god would destroy him and all his followers. thanks maria cooper

Posted by: maria cooper at February 15, 2005 06:41 PM

unbelievable!

Posted by: jansons at February 23, 2005 08:23 AM

i like these pictures. all the confusion and what not. it must've been bad having a blackout. i'm not too far (New Jersey) and we didn't have a black out haha. i just felt like posting... cause this is an interesting site.

Posted by: the kristina at July 2, 2005 05:20 PM

For someone who doesn't live in NY (or in usa, for that matter), your work is very enlightening, and helps us realise how fragile really is the human condition, affected by something as simples as a blackout. And yes, i agree with you, I too like that these "catastrophes" occur, exactly because of it doesn't take any lives, but it shows us that we are small, no matter the technology or any advances...
COngratulations!!!

Posted by: Austeiger at September 6, 2005 06:47 AM

I live in Toronto, that was a crazy night to remember. I went for a bike ride, ate free barbq food and drank all night. Best fireworks war ever!

Posted by: T.J. at September 26, 2005 02:58 AM

I am spening 6 months working in New York, when I think about the city it makes me wonder `How does it work`, but it does it really does work, its a remarkable place.

Posted by: Heiko at January 26, 2006 09:02 PM

blackout was on my B-day... always fun

Posted by: Xavier at March 22, 2006 02:20 AM

I'LL NEVER FORGET THAT DAY CAUSE ITS THE DAY AFTER MY BDAY. It was so fuking crazy, people everywhere, then into the night we just got a BBQ going played the radio and partied like it was a friday night!!

Posted by: sKILLz at April 3, 2006 11:34 PM

cool picturessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Posted by: jksdfh at June 4, 2006 02:43 AM

that waz da sweetest eva!! kol jol.

Posted by: Matthew Dannenberg at July 31, 2006 01:01 AM

Love your Diary on Pics U have.. its absolutely amazing the record u have taken that horrible day..
Keep Up that good work ! I find it amazing ! ;)

Posted by: Studiolineny at September 14, 2006 01:40 AM

Love your Diary on Pics U have.. its absolutely amazing the record u have taken that horrible day..
Keep Up that good work ! I find it amazing ! ;)

Posted by: Studiolineny at September 14, 2006 01:41 AM

Blackouts are awesome experiences. I was 10 years old and living in Queens in November 1965 when the first big blackout hit the northeast. Our TV - running on vacuum tubes of course - was the first thing to go out, followed by flickering lights. We had a very good view of the Manhattan skyline, and for the first time we couldn't see it at night! It was all a wonderful adventure with the candles and flashlights and transistor radios. For all those people stuck in subways and elevators, though, it was less pleasant. Ah, the memories of childhood.

Posted by: BobR at December 17, 2006 05:09 AM

i'm so happy I could find a site with day-to-day pics of nyc, 'cause its been so long since I left and still my heart can't let it go...

Posted by: caio sousa at March 28, 2007 02:12 PM

i was in the time sqare marriott marquis when
the lights went off in time square, i was
watching tv when it suddenly went off, the
clock was off to, i called down to the
front desk, they said they dont got clue
what was going on

it was scary!

Posted by: eric edwards at June 17, 2007 04:30 PM

I was not studing yesterday

Posted by: giovanni at June 18, 2007 11:59 AM

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