CNN BREAKING NEWS
Times Square Lights Are Out
Aired August 15, 2003 - 05:41 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Let's head live to Times Square now and CNN correspondent Gary Tuchman.
Some of the lights are going back on there now, right -- Gary?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, we have been told that about 25 percent of the power in New York City and Westchester County, which is a suburban area north of New York City, now has its power back.
But here is the headline in the morning paper, the "New York Post." Just got it a short time ago. Normally it would come out earlier, but because of all the power problems, it's come out late. But it is 'Paralyzed: New Yorkers Stranded by Huge Blackout.'
We are standing right now in Times Square. This is normally the brightest place to be. And it's relatively bright right now because of the TV lights and the portable generators, but not as bright as it normally is. The lights haven't come on back here, but five blocks north of here, you can see there are lights, street lights, a hotel sign. Almost 12 hours to the minute that the power went out, those lights came on. So much of northern Manhattan now has its power back, but this part of Manhattan still doesn't and that's the amazing thing -- Carol.
COSTELLO: And that is so weird, Gary, that in like a block down they have power but where you are they don't.
TUCHMAN: That's literally 51st Street where you see the lights down there and that is the dividing line. North of 51st Street they have lights, south of 51st Street, where we are right now in Times Square, they do not have lights.
But here's the most amazing thing, police are telling us now, I'm going to tell you they are telling us this. I would like to investigate this further and hear what they have to say tomorrow. But they are saying overnight in New York City with no power there were four burglaries in the entire city. Far, far less than a normal night and certainly a great difference from 1977, the last major blackout here, where there was a night of looting, a night of fear, a night of crime. By all accounts, it was very quiet and that's good news. But police are going out on a limb in telling us there were only four burglaries of any kind in this city overnight.
COSTELLO: And you know we're happy to report, too, that in Cleveland and Detroit similar stories, very few reports of looting there, although there was one reported looting in Detroit, but that was only at one business. So it's been pretty amazing countrywide with this blackout.
You know the thing I'm also amazed at is you were able to fly out of Atlanta into New York with no problem.
TUCHMAN: Well there was a slight problem, we were supposed to fly to LaGuardia and three flights that we wanted to go on were cancelled. And then we said how are we going to get up there and they said there is one flight to Newark that might take off, that's your only chance. So we got on the flight.
We did go to Newark, which had all its lights. We then drove through the Holland Tunnel, which goes under the Hudson River. And that was an eerie sight, Carol, because tunnels are normally very dark to begin with but all the lights were off in the tunnel and we were driving through complete darkness into the darkness of New York City where there were no lights.
COSTELLO: That would definitely be scary. What were the airports like, were they crowded with people?
TUCHMAN: Actually, the Atlanta Airport, which is the busiest airport in the world in terms of the number of passengers annually, was relatively empty tonight. When we got to Newark, it was relatively empty tonight. And when we drove into New York City, the roads were relatively empty. It was one of the easiest commutes I've ever had to New York City in my life, to be honest with you, besides the fact that we barely could see anything.
COSTELLO: Yes, and all it took was a power outage.
Gary Tuchman, live from Times Square, many thanks to you.
We've got this power story covered. On our Web site there's a map of the blackout area with all the details. You know the address, CNN.com. AOL keyword, CNN.
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