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

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.”


Afghan poll body misses announcing crucial presidential initial vote

Updated 19 October 2019

Afghan poll body misses announcing crucial presidential initial vote

  • The chief of the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), blamed technical reasons for missing the timetable
  • She said the results would be announced “as soon as possible”

KABUL: Afghanistan’s election commission conceded its failure to release initial presidential poll results set for Saturday and gave no new deadline for the vote which was marred by Taliban attacks and irregularities.
The presidential poll on Sept. 28 saw the lowest turnout of any elections in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s ousting.
Hawa Alam Nuristani, the chief of the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), blamed technical reasons, particularly slowness in entering data on to the server, for missing the timetable.
“Regrettably, the commission due to technical issues and for the sake of transparency could not announce the presidential election initial poll results,” she said in a brief announcement.
Without naming any camp, Nuristani also said: “A number of observers of election sides (camps) illegally are disrupting the process of elections.” She did not elaborate.
Nuristani said the results would be announced “as soon as possible,” while earlier in the day two IEC members said privately that the delay would take up to a week.
The delay is another blow for the vote that has been twice delayed due to the government’s mismanagement and meetings between the US and the Taliban, which eventually collapsed last month after President Donald Trump declared the talks “dead.”
It further adds to political instability in Afghanistan, which has seen decades of conflict and foreign intervention and faced ethnic divides in recent years.
Both front-runners, President Ashraf Ghani and the country’s chief executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, have said that they expect to win.
The pair have been sharing power in Afghanistan as part of a US-brokered deal following the fraudulent polls of 2014.
The IEC has invalidated more than 500,000 votes because they were not conducted through biometric devices, bought for the vote from overseas to minimize the level of cheating in last month’s polls.
Officials of the commission said that nearly 1.8 million votes were considered clean and it was not clear what sort of impact the turnout would have on the legitimacy of the polls and the future government, whose main task will be to resume stalled peace talks with the Taliban.
They said that the slowness of data entry on to the server was one of the technical reasons for the delay in releasing initial poll results.
Yousuf Rashid, a senior official from an election watchdog group, described the delay as a “weakness of mismanagement,” while several lawmakers chided IEC for poor performance.
Abdul Satar Saadat, a former senior leader of an electoral body, told Arab News: “The delay showed IEC’s focus was on transparency” and that should be regarded as a sign that it took the issue of discarding fraudulent votes seriously.