Massive Power Outage Cripples Parts Of New York City

Extensive blackout reported across Midtown and Upper West Side of Manhattan

New York's skyline went dark on Saturday night after a blackout hit much of Midtown and the Upper West Side

Authorities were scrambling to restore electricity to Manhattan, N.Y., following a power outage that knocked out Times Square's towering electronic screens and darkened marquees in the theater district and left businesses without electricity, elevators stuck and subway cars stalled.

A Reuters witness in the area reported hearing an explosion at about 7 p.m. (2300 GMT), and a New York City Fire Department spokesman said firefighters were on the scene of a transformer fire.

The temperature was warm, above 80 even as the sun set, but not as steaming as Manhattan can get in July.

Media reports indicate that thousands are without power in parts of Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side. Traffic lights were not working along a stretch of Manhattan that extends up about a mile, and across from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River, on Manhattan's far west side. NBC's 30 Rockefeller Plaza also lost power.

Officials say more than 40,000 customers were without power following a transformer fire in New York City.

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The power outage was caused by a manhole fire, according to tweets from the NYPD and the mayor.

'From what we're seeing at this moment, this is simply a mechanical problem and one, again, that sounds like it is addressable in a reasonable period of time, ' de Blasio said.

The outage was having a widespread effect on the NY subway system, which was experiencing power outages in its stations, the agency managing the trains said.

Many Broadway musicals and plays canceled their Saturday evening shows, including "Hadestown", which last month won the Tony Award for best musical.

The FDNY reports that they are receiving calls from residents without power in the West 40s all the way north to 72nd Street. "The first thing you learn is, let's get all the facts, and then we'll assess what to do".

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For information about refunds or exchanges, ticket holders for canceled performances should contact their point of purchase.

Reporters and other New Yorkers shared images of parts of Times Square and full Manhattan blocks powering down as a result of the outage.

People in Hell's Kitchen began directing traffic themselves as traffic lights and walking signs went dark.

The outages were affecting "multiple lines", the Metropolitan Transport Authority said.

The outage also saw some Broadway shows cancel their Saturday evening performances, including Best Musical Tony victor Hadestown and King Kong.

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