Surreal Photos From The Day New York Went Dark

10 years ago today, a few overgrown tree branches and a faulty, ageing power grid led to the biggest blackout in North American history.

The blackout hit numerous big cities in the Northeast and Midwest, including Cleveland, Detroit, and Toronto. But none of the images were as striking and iconic as those emanating from blacked-out New York City.

The blackout struck the city just after the stock exchange had closed and the evening was about to begin in New York.

Some traders watched as their monitors blinked off at their desks as they were about to leave the floor. Thousands of passengers had to be evacuated from subway tunnels, and others were evacuated from large buildings. Gov. George E. Pataki said that 600 trains were left stranded, and crowds of stranded passengers piled up in both Grand Central and Penn Stations.

It came just fewer than two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City. But New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others quickly moved to dispel any notion that the blackout had anything to do with terrorism.

Do you remember where you were when the blackout first hit? Here’s a look back at the New York City scene 10 years ago:

This was the scene looking at the New York City skyline that night.

Another picture of the skyline.

Commuters were stranded outside of Penn Station.

This college student, Shmuel Aziza of France, got innovative in Brooklyn, charging his laptop via a car battery.

Here’s a view of a bodega during the blackout.

The crowd of stranded passengers outside Grand Central station at rush hour.

No one lost their sense of humour during the fracas. Indeed, New York became known for “coming together” during the outage.

Inside Grand Central, the station’s floodlights helped passengers navigate.

An iconic shot of New York City, almost completely dark, as the sun sets.

People walk down Brooklyn Bridge during the massive blackout.

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