Oops! After publishing this entry Ed Stannard of the New Haven Register noticed it was a day off. Damn you smart print guys!
All the facts are correct except the blackout was Tuesday November 9, 1965, not the 10th. My apologies for the error and gratitude to Ed.
I have changed the entry to correct the error.
I remember exactly where I was 45 years ago yesterday. I was 15 years old in 1965 and in the living room of our tiny apartment in Queens watching TV. It was a Tuesday, but for some reason my father was home.
All of a sudden for no apparent reason the TV picture began to shrink. I called my father over. Voltage regulator we guessed.
We then did what any 1960s father and son would have done–we pulled off the back of the set to check the tubes¹.
By the time we’d exposed the TV’s innards the lights had dimmed and then – poof – they were gone.
An improperly set circuit breaker at a power station near Niagara Falls took down much of the Northeast! We didn’t know it at the time but nearly all of New York City, New York State and New England had gone dark!
This part of the world was thrust into chaos, yet order was maintained. In fact the biggest takeaway from the blackout was how nice everyone was! There was little crime and lots of helping hands. However, in that pre-cell, pre-Internet era there was plenty of confusion.
Here’s an aircheck from WABC-AM’s Dan Ingram as the power slowly drifted away. He had no idea then his voice would be the most vivid memory of the onset of the Great Northeast Power Blackout!
Addendum: After posting this I got a nice message on Facebook from Ilene Treitler Chalupski who was just Ilene Treitler when she was my next door neighbor in 1965 (She apartment 5D. We apartment 5E).
My father came home and YELLED at us because when he walked in and we were playing with the Horizontal and Vertical controls (Outer Limits stuff!) and he told us NEVER to touch those knobs. Then when he couldn’t make the tv picture stop rolling, he knocked on your parents’ door Geoff, i clearly remember it, and when your mother opened the door, your father had the television away from the wall and was trying to make the picture stop rolling, and within a few seconds the place went black!
¹ – There were tube testers nearly everywhere including the local drugstore.