7-13-77...THE BLACKOUT.

68jk09

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On this day July 13 back in 1977 around 2130 hrs the lights went out & accompanying widespread looting & arson commenced & went unchecked thru the night & into the next day......sporadic looting & Fires continued for at least a week ..... many business's that now had been totally looted continued to be set on Fire just for sport culminating a week  later in a 10 Alarm Fire in Bushwick which was started in an abandoned factory & resulted in the destruction of numerous occupied stores & dwellings .....on the original night of The Blackout i spent 12 straight hours fighting Fires along Broadway in Bklyn....the end result was the total destruction of numerous blocks that had been thriving business's .....most of the area to this day has never recovered.....looters were so intent on getting what they could that for the most part we had no direct incidents w/them .....the Police were severly overtaxed & spread very thin.....i remember one furniture store on Broadway around Gates Ave that had PD guarding the front & looters using a small back door to remove furniture....they were so brazen that they simply dismantled items inside then brought the pieces thru the small door & just sat there on the sidewalk assembling them w/out a care in the world....early on before the Bus traffic was halted (because of the lawless mobs but more so because the streets were quickly becoming unpassable due to material & Fire apparatus) there were groups who had chains that they would attach to a closed security gate on a store then when a Bus slowly passed thru the crowd they would attach it to the Bus pulling the gate off thus gaining access to another store.....at one Fire in a heavily involved Butcher Shop that we were operating in LAD*112 who was assigned  the floor above  gave us an Urgent message about an extremely heavy load on the floor ....the apt above was filled front to rear w/brand new refrigerators that had been stashed there earlier in the night ....we went to several other Fires one after another until the next afternoon ......at some Jobs there might be only one or two LADs & no Eng so we would just stretch off a nearby ENG that was operating at another Job close by ..... as far as the eye could see up & down Broadway there were Units ( some from as far away as Staten Island ) operating & almost wall to wall people/looters .....this was part of my night/day .....similar scenes were repeated in many other areas thru out certain sections of the City.....it was a long time ago but sometime it seems like yesterday........    http://blackout.gmu.edu/events/tl1977.html
 

68jk09

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http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/1977-New-York-City-Blackout-40-Years-Later--432930743.html
 

68jk09

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https://www.google.com/search?site=&source=hp&q=THE+BLACKOUT+1977&oq=THE+BLACKOUT+1977&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0.2730.13288.0.14251.17.17.0.0.0.0.148.1351.15j2.17.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.17.1349...0i131k1.uNy7l1TjGlE
 

lucky

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The combination of the blackout and boro call completely wiped out our retail holiday inspections for that year and many after.
 

STAjo

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My friends & I were passing the time on Nostrand & 'L' in Brooklyn, drinkin' beers and playing a game
we'd created to pass the time... somehow we'd discovered that if you whacked a certain light pole on the block with
a softball bat, in just the right spot, with just the proper 'tap', ( not too hard; not too soft ) the streetlight atop the pole would go out for about 30 seconds or so. Then we'd wait for the light to come back on, & it was the next guys
turn. Around 9:30 PM, my buddy Hal took his turn, on his second whack the Light went out. Then the Traffic Light
on the corner went dark. Then the surrounding Street Lights, & before long, every light in da' Neighborhood.
We told the Story for Weeks, about how Hal started the Great Blackout of '77.

The older Brother of one of the Girls we hung out w/ was Co-owner of a Tavern on 'N' & Nostrand. All the Tap Beer was going Warm & Flat, so they were giving it way, so long as ya' bought a couple of shots of Booze...

We all got Quite Drunk, & wound up later getting into a brawl w/ some 6-3 Pct. Cops on Flatbush & 'K' who'd been called-in back to Patrol Duty after having worked a full 8a x 4p.
They were in a foul mood, we were Quite Drunk, & things just didn't go along real well. They smacked us around a
bit, we got a few punches in, after a brief 'Tussle', we were 'Dispersed', & they Resumed Patrol.
We wandered around a bit, got tired, and without any Looting or Arson, went Home, and went to Bed.  ;)
 

nfd2004

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From 100 miles away, I watched the 11 pm news. Up until that point, I had no idea that the lights were out in NYC. A total Blackout throughout the entire city. I just could not even imagine that happening.

News of this was on every channel and stories were coming out of wide spread looting and buildings being set on fire. All the off duty members of the NYPD and FDNY were requested to return back to work. A couple of my FDNY buff buddies had also called me and we all agreed that it would be a busy night for the NYPD and FDNY. As presented in an earlier post here, NYC was already at the breaking point. Vital services had already been cut. Fires were at an all time high. There seemed to be no hope left for the people of NYC.

Just prior to this, as buffs, we had been hanging out in Brooklyn. Fires had skyrocketed in the Bushwick section and Bed Sty, Williamsburg, and Brownsville were also at historic fire activity numbers (as well as so many other parts of the city). Just on the average day/night, before the Blackout, fires were already a very routine part of life here.

The news media was reporting very heavy fire activity throughout many parts of the city. They had mentioned Broadway in Brooklyn were stores were looted and set on fire. I decided to check things out the day after the Blackout was over. I saw dozens of burned out stores. Security gates ripped from buildings. Streets with food, pieces of buildings, charred remains in the gutter from one end of Broadway to the other. In a few cases, some buildings still had fire apparatus on the scene.

Yesterday, July 13, 2017, the guys I was with then talked about that day 40 years ago on July 15, 1977, that as buffs, we made that trip to see for ourselves. None of us have ever seen anything like it.

"STAjo", that is a great story. I'm sure for a period of time, your buddy Hal figured he had just the right touch to not only darken the street light, but the entire NYC as well. I'd probably have a few too many drinks if I was with him or thought I did such a thing too.......
 

mack

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What a contrast to the Blackout of 1965 which was inconvenient but orderly - almost a party atmosphere in the city.  People were stuck in elevators and bars - but no looting.

In the 1977 videos, there are no cops.  Firefighters who are alone run to get back to groups.  Total chaos.  The absence of police and law enforcement response was heavily due to then Mayor Beame who did not have any idea what was happening or what to do.  He even vetoed National Guard help for a depleted NYPD.  Looters looted other looters. 

Unfortunately, looting, violence and shootings still accompany protests today and are even encouraged by weak politicians (e.g. - Baltimore).
 

entropychaser

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First reported looting....about ten minutes after the lights went out....Muslim Jewelry on Utica Avenue and Discount Liquors at Throop and Fulton.
 

CVILLE7111

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Happened to be riding with 110 Truck that night.  They were out picking up the meal when we started to hear reports from other units of losing power.  The rest of the tour with them was non-stop jobs.  Although it was a tragedy, it was still the most memorable night of buffing I ever had!
 

STAjo

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Thanks, Wilfred.  ;)  Great Stuff ! Chief JK knows the area i spoke of...Come to Think of it,

He might know a few of the Characters involved, a few of them later made The Department.
 

68jk09

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entropychaser said:
First reported looting....about ten minutes after the lights went out....Muslim Jewelry on Utica Avenue and Discount Liquors at Throop and Fulton.
First report of looting about 10 minutes after the lights went out that we heard on the BKLYN frequency was by LAD*102 at Bedford & Gates Aves....we knew it was going to go full scale quickly...we shared qtrs w/the 90 Pct & as we went on our first run shortly afterwards  the Pct had practically emptied out & looters were cheerfully heading to Broadway around the corner carrying crowbars & pipes.... we returned to qtrs about 12 hrs later very tired from fighting some good Fires but also kind of disgusted w/the way some destroyed the neighborhood....not only large & small stores along Broadway in BKLYN but the apts that were above some of which housed several older tenants that had been there for years.
 

68jk09

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http://nypost.com/2017/07/13/horror-stories-from-the-blackout-that-turned-brooklyn-into-a-battleground/
 

nfd2004

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mack said:
What a contrast to the Blackout of 1965 which was inconvenient but orderly - almost a party atmosphere in the city.  People were stuck in elevators and bars - but no looting.

In the 1977 videos, there are no cops.  Firefighters who are alone run to get back to groups.  Total chaos.  The absence of police and law enforcement response was heavily due to then Mayor Beame who did not have any idea what was happening or what to do.  He even vetoed National Guard help for a depleted NYPD.  Looters looted other looters. 

Unfortunately, looting, violence and shootings still accompany protests today and are even encouraged by weak politicians (e.g. - Baltimore).
As mack states, the lights went out in 1965 and later in 1977. In just a matter of 12 years how things had changed.

I hate to think what it would be like if the lights went out these days. My guess is it WON'T be like that Blackout of 1965. In the Blackout of 1965 much of the entire northeast was without power. Yet very little problems. The biggest problem I remember was the baby boom nine months later.

With the politicians of today in some of our cities, it sure could be something to be very concerned about. 
 

nfd2004

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On this day July 13 back in 1977 around 2130 hrs the lights went out & accompanying widespread looting & arson commenced & went unchecked thru the night & into the next day......sporadic looting & Fires continued for at least a week ..... many business's that now had been totally looted continued to be set on Fire just for sport culminating a week later in a 10 Alarm Fire in Bushwick which was started in an abandoned factory & resulted in the destruction of numerous occupied stores & dwellings .....on the original night of The Blackout i spent 12 straight hours fighting Fires along Broadway in Bklyn....the end result was the total destruction of numerous blocks that had been thriving business's .....most of the area to this day has never recovered.....looters were so intent on getting what they could that for the most part we had no direct incidents w/them .....the Police were severly overtaxed & spread very thin.....i remember one furniture store on Broadway around Gates Ave that had PD guarding the front & looters using a small back door to remove furniture....they were so brazen that they simply dismantled items inside then brought the pieces thru the small door & just sat there on the sidewalk assembling them w/out a care in the world....early on before the Bus traffic was halted (because of the lawless mobs but more so because the streets were quickly becoming unpassable due to material & Fire apparatus) there were groups who had chains that they would attach to a closed security gate on a store then when a Bus slowly passed thru the crowd they would attach it to the Bus pulling the gate off thus gaining access to another store.....at one Fire in a heavily involved Butcher Shop that we were operating in LAD*112 who was assigned the floor above gave us an Urgent message about an extremely heavy load on the floor ....the apt above was filled front to rear w/brand new refrigerators that had been stashed there earlier in the night ....we went to several other Fires one after another until the next afternoon ......at some Jobs there might be only one or two LADs & no Eng so we would just stretch off a nearby ENG that was operating at another Job close by ..... as far as the eye could see up & down Broadway there were Units ( some from as far away as Staten Island ) operating & almost wall to wall people/looters .....this was part of my night/day .....similar scenes were repeated in many other areas thru out certain sections of the City.....it was a long time ago but sometime it seems like yesterday........ http://blackout.gmu.edu/events/tl1977.html

It was 43 years ago tonight on July 13th, 1977 when the lights went out in NYC. A night that those who were around then will never forget.

We take you back to that WILD Night in NYC

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xscBfDh9amQ
 
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