2011-08-26 / Columnists

It’s My Turn

The Blackout Of 2003
By Al Daley Rockaway Resident

Where were you eight years ago, on Thursday, August 14, 2003 when most of the northeastern United States and major parts of Ontario, Canada suddenly plunged into total darkness?

Let’s recap:

The darkness caved us in;

In New York City, just three minutes after the closing of the Stock Trades

Then started the color guessing charade

Some said it’s just a Brownout, others said it’s a full Blackout, one thing for certain, all lights were out.

People started milling out, there was no time to start filling out, their timesheet for next day salary; that was not to be.

Theatre owners looked on with envy; their seats were empty, while theatre goers were on the street plenty.

One revelation was that a combination of the West Indian’s, St. Patrick’s, Puerto Rican’s and Italian’s day parades could not hold candles for the amount of people rushing to buy candles, from Delis and Supermarkets that were selling theirs by the lights of candles.

Deep within the Subways, the lights started to sing their lifeless songs, the coaches hummed along.

Filled to capacity with rush-hour human cargos; the lights flickered, engines flustered, the Train stopped or it seems, all life stopped.

The silence so loud, could be cut with a knife. The darkness satanic; but 9/11 hardened, there was no panic.

Life stood still for a year-long moment and it was in that moment, an object of smoking became life essential, as one reached into his pocket and took out his credentials. The cigarette lighter flickered and a lone voice whispered, two words of life; “follow me”

Through curves and corners, twists and turns, no third-rail danger, no fire burns, they followed until surface sphere, and saw the darkness still lingered there.

In the outer Boroughs; patrons were sitting on the sidewalks in front of Bars, sipping their drinks by the lights of cars.

No music, no fanfare, no jukeboxes blared. With mention of a cappella karaoke, because the electricity just wasn’t there to add rhythm to the lyrics, lights to the darkness or sobriety to the drunkenness, but this didn’t mean you get your drinks for less, still we were blessed that the wind was blowing; cause; in the abundance of flowing juice, no juice was flowing to get the Air-condition going or the fans turning wind force. While fast burning candles was the only other light source.

In Churches all over, the pews were empty, no one was praying; at home everyone was staying, their minds straying from the light of the world, which is Jesus. His second coming was not an option, the Day of Judgment, no distraction. They were focused on the business at hand; not wanting to revamp the days of Tilly lamps and Kitchen-bitches, they were flicking switches, turning knobs and pressing remote buttons, as if they were darkness medicine. Keeping their faith in Con-Edison and keeping their fingers crossed, hoping that the enveloping darkness would pass.

The many bridges were loaded, but vehicular traffic minimal, as pedestrians filtered across, like herded Animals. Some headed home the old-fashioned way, which is never thought of these days or this time of day. For those who lived further, the streets were their beds, and stones were the pillows for resting their heads.

As nightfall extended, no looting, no shooting, no thieves, as crimes got suspended and vandals took leave.

Held hostage by Nuclear Power and Solar energy thoughts, State blame State as countries fought.

It was 27 hours later before New Yorkers were freed, of the ill-fated Blackout of 2003.

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