NYC power outage knocks out subways, businesses, elevators

People walk down a street of Manhattan after a power outage hit the borough in New York City on July 13, 2019.(AFP / Johannes Eisele)
Updated 14 July 2019
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NYC power outage knocks out subways, businesses, elevators

  • Blackout affected more than 44,000 customers along a 30-block stretch from Times Square to about 72nd Street and Broadway
  • City fire department blames power outage on a fire that hit a transformer at West 64th Street and West End Avenue

NEW YORK: Authorities were scrambling to restore electricity to Manhattan following a power outage that knocked out Times Square’s towering electronic screens, 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 Saturday evening 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 had 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.

Broadway street is seen with no power after a power outage hit Manhattan in New York City on July 13, 2019. (AFP / Thomas Urbain)


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 canceled performances.
When the lights went out early Saturday evening, thousands of people streamed out of darkened Manhattan buildings, crowding Broadway next to bumper-to-bumper traffic.
People in Hell’s Kitchen began directing traffic themselves as stoplights and walking signs went dark.
Ginger Tidwell, a dance teacher and Upper West Side resident, was about to order at the West Side diner on Broadway and West 69th Street just before 7 p.m.
“When the lights started flickering, and then were out,” she said. “We got up and left, walking up Broadway with all the traffic lights out and businesses dark.”
But once they got to West 72nd Street, they found another diner that was open and had power.
“It was still sunny and everyone just came out to the street because they lost power and air conditioning; it was super-crowded,” she said. “Everyone was hanging out on the street on a nice night. All you could hear was fire trucks up and down Broadway. All of Broadway was without traffic lights.”


Duterte ‘seriously considering’ cutting ties with Iceland over UN rights probe

Updated 50 min 37 sec ago
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Duterte ‘seriously considering’ cutting ties with Iceland over UN rights probe

  • Iceland spearheaded a resolution that asked the UN’s top human rights body to look into the Philippines' deadly anti-drug crackdown
  • Philippine police have killed more than 6,600 suspected drug dealers in sting operations since Duterte took office in 2016.

MANILA: The Philippine president is “seriously considering” cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland, which spearheaded a resolution that asked the UN’s top human rights body to look into the thousands of deaths of suspects under his anti-drug crackdown.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters late Monday that the Iceland-initiated resolution which was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in a vote last week in Geneva showed “how the Western powers are scornful of our sovereign exercise of protecting our people from the scourge of prohibited drugs.”
Panelo says President Rodrigo Duterte “is seriously considering cutting diplomatic relations with Iceland” for initiating the “grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan” resolution.
Human rights groups, however, have lauded the resolution as crucial to helping end the drug killings and bringing perpetrators to justice.
The Philippines’ highest-ranking lawmaker said on Monday a UN resolution to probe the country’s bloody war on drugs should be ignored, and its chief backer Iceland be investigated instead for human rights abuses in allowing abortion.
“They have more unborn babies that they have aborted or killed. There are more killings in abortion than the drug pushers who are fighting the police,” Senate President Vicente Sotto told ANC news channel.
The Nordic nation lacks moral grounds to lecture the Philippines on human rights, Sotto said. “So we should disregard that resolution.”
His remarks are the latest in a series of comments from lawmakers urging the government to not cooperate after the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday adopted Iceland’s resolution to investigate thousands of deaths under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign.
Police have killed more than 6,600 suspected drug dealers in sting operations since Duterte took office in 2016. Critics and rights group said authorities summarily execute suspects, which the police deny.
“The criminals can fight back, the babies cannot. What human rights are they talking about?” Sotto said, adding that drug dealers that fight back and destroy families lose their human rights.
His comments about abortion echoed those made by incoming Senator Imee Marcos, the daughter of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Rights groups, which hailed the UN vote as a step toward accountability, point out that the bloody anti-narcotics campaign is marked by systematic cover-ups, planted evidence and impunity.
The president’s spokesman on Monday warned countries not to meddle with the state’s affairs.
“All incidents in the war on drugs are tallied, recorded. All they have to do is ask us, not to pre-judge us,” presidential spokesman Spokesman Panelo told a regular news conference. “It behoves them to render respect to a sovereign state.”
Duterte on Friday mocked Iceland as an ice-eating nation without understanding of his country’s problems.