Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The 56th Anniversary

If you are interested in history (and even if you're not), today is the 56th anniversary of the 1965 Northeast Blackout.  

Going to the link above, which links to the New York (City) Daily News, I looked at some of the photos with great interest.  My father, who was one of thousands who were stranded on the subway and waited on a long line to call home when he finally was able to get out, may have been in one of those photos.

Here's a nine minute peek into a totally different world...or, then again, maybe it's not that different after all.   This is part of the broadcast of what would be called the NBC Nightly News now. It came on late (because it broadcast from Manhattan, normally, and that was an impossibility) and you'll see a broadcast done by candlelight.  

Frank McGee, the anchor starting about three minutes into the broadcast, said something like "The power failure may indicate the nation's power supply is vulnerable..."

That was in 1965.  Here we are, in 2021.  Did we learn any lessons from 1965?  Are we even more vulnerable now?  My answers would be yes (but not enough, perhaps) and yes. 

Back in 1965, the fear (per that broadcast) was nuclear attack.  Today, we have so many more fears. Fear of hacking may be number one.  But that's not the only fear.  The electricity where my late mother in law lived seemed to go out for no reason at all.   There was the massive power failure in Texas from the February 2021 storm.  

Our infrastructure needs a lot of work.

More and more people find it necessary to purchase their own portable generator.  Or even a whole house standby generator.

We didn't have the Internet in 1965.  We didn't have cell phones in 1965. We didn't need broadband in 1965.  In the next few years, more of us are going to have electric cars. If anything, we are more dependent on electricity than we were in 1965.

I am not a technology expert.  But I can see where this all could be going. 

It's a way different world from 1965.

Were you affected by a recent power failure?  Or, have you lived through a major blackout or hack?


  1. ...I remember it well, I was in college.

  2. This is a 'Powerful' post...no pun intended. Such a good recap from 1965...year of my graduation from high school. Have to say the state of electricity was not on my radar back then. Sure is today, and, yes I was very much a part of the Texas massive Texas Power Failure this past February. Unfortunately, we may be facing more of the same this winter with the 'Powers-That-Be' failure to address and fix the root cause.
    Thanks so much for your words of comfort and welcoming in my return to blogging. I'm so thankful for your friendship!

  3. Ten years ago I had a whole house generator installed. This spring I had one installed at my grandkids house. My son in Texas survived their power failure this winter. I was driving home from a trip when the lights went out

  4. Ugh, here is the rest of my comment... lights went out in 2003. John Oliver's show on Sunday night was all about the power grid.

  5. Oh, I do remember that. Carol C

  6. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    August 14, 2003. I’m in my office in lower Manhattan and the power goes out. I call my sister on Long Island and the power has gone out there, too. Her first thought: power grid failure. She was right. I walked four miles from Wall Street to Penn Station, hoping the power would come on and I could catch a train home. Sometime after midnight my sister was able to drive into Manhattan and pick me up.

  7. So scary! To quote my dad: 'The more things change, the more they stay the same!'

  8. About 20 (not exact) but we were visiting NJ and NY when another blackout occurred. It was a scary time and I remember hotels down the road were charging $$$$ for hotel rooms.

  9. Funnily enough, the electric grid was John Oliver's topic on his show on Sunday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBpiXcyB7wU

  10. I don't recall this story, anyhow I would been five. We sure need to up date a lot of our infrastructure.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  11. I remember that night. Looking out from the beach (Jones Beach) when I could see forever- until the lights in NJ died away, too.


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