Power restored after New York City blackout leaves thousands in the dark

Screens in Times Square are black during a widespread power outage on Saturday. (AP)

Power was restored to all 72,000 customers in New York City early Sunday after a massive outage left a portion of Manhattan’s West Side in the dark — causing canceled shows, traffic jams and chaos in the subway system for hours.

Con Edison said at 1 a.m. Sunday that electricity was restored to the remaining 9,700 customers after a problem at a substation just before 7 p.m. Saturday led to a power failure that affected those from Times Square to 72nd Street and Broadway and spread to Rockefeller Center.

“With all customers back in service, the company will focus on investigating the cause of the equipment failures and on getting the electrical-delivery system back to its normal level of reliability,” the utility company said in a statement.

A subway station is in the dark during a widespread power outage on Saturday. (AP)

The blackout affected the entire subway system, causing four Manhattan stations to shut down. Photos and videos showed people attempting to make their way out of dark subway stations. Some were also briefly trapped on the trains before operators were able to manually change the signals and bring at least one car into the stations to allow passengers to disembark.

Some screens in Times Square went black, while most Broadway musicals and plays announced cancellations Saturday evening. Jennifer Lopez, who had just begun her performance at Madison Square Garden for her “It’s My Party” tour, also took to social media to say the concert was canceled for the night.

“They just told me to get off stage. I was waiting there, obviously, all the power went out in the city and obviously here at Madison Square Garden … we had just started our show,” Lopez said in a video posted to her social media accounts.

She later said she was “devastated and heartbroken” by the incident, but added the show is set to be rescheduled for Monday night at the same venue.

Along with Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts were also evacuated.

Con Edison CEO John McAvoy said the exact cause of the blackout would not be known until an investigation is completed.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Saturday night news conference that no injuries were reported from the blackout that he labeled as “unacceptable.”

"You just can't have a power outage of this magnitude in this city," Cuomo said. "It is too dangerous, the potential for public safety risk and chaos is too high, we just can't have a system that does that, it's that simple at the end of the day."

Cuomo also said in a statement, "While this situation was luckily contained, the fact that it happened at all is unacceptable. I have directed the PSC to do a full and thorough investigation into the cause of tonight's blackout and we will hold all parties accountable in ensuring this does not happen again."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was campaigning on the presidential trail in Waterloo, Iowa when the power outage struck. His press secretary, Freddi Goldstein, tweeted just before 10 p.m. that de Blasio cut short his Iowa visit and was headed back to the city.


The mayor commended New Yorkers for handling the blackout "with that trademark NYC grit and toughness" in a tweet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.