tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN July 13, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
so good luck on the trail. >> thank you. >> mayor pete. good to be with you. >> good to be with you. >> for more of the conversation, visit luminarypodcast.com. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm ana cabrera in new york. our breaking news right now, a large power outage affecting parts of manhattan tonight. look at your screen right now. that is times square. that's where the ball drops on new year's eve. usually you see lights all over the place, flashing lights, billboards. right now it's dark. 42 years to the day since new york city experienced the famous blackout of 1977. look at that shot from times square. con edison right now reporting more than 38,000 customers are without power. we're seeing these numbers grow since the initial power outage was reported. and just moments ago, we got
this update from mayor bill de blasio. >> i just want to give an update for people interested in the situation on the west side of manhattan. we have a con edison electrical outage. very preliminary information says about 20,000 people affected, but we're waiting for a lot more information. i spoke to our police commissioner, our emergency management commissioner, my chief of staff at city hall. everyone is coordinating. we'll have a better picture in the next few minutes or next half hour or so. but all of our emergency personnel are being cloudeploye address the situation. it appears a limited power outage, but still affecting a meaningful number of people for sure. so, questions on that or otherwise on anything you want. >> again, mayor bill de blasio, he's on the campaign trail, not in new york, but he's in communication with people here in new york city. we're showing you pictures from around the city. i want to get to cnn's brian
stelter joining us on the phone. brian, you've been personally impacted by this since you weren't here at work when all of this began. we're seeing these incredible images, dark radio city music hall, dark subways. what are you seeing? >> reporter: around me, ana, a lot of high-rises in midtown manhattan. there are [ inaudible ]. >> obviously we're having trouble with brian's audio. brian, let's try to establish a better connection so we can hear what you're saying. >> reporter: sure. >> i know you've been tweeting out a whole bunch about this. i know your wife, who is pregnant, has had to take stairs instead of the elevator. >> reporter: exactly. >> in new york, when one of these high-rises runs out of power, the elevators obviously stop working. we now that fire and police have been called to a lot of those
reports of people stuck in elevators, traffic lights all around this part of new york city are out right now. and traffic in new york city is notoriously bad. we also know the subway stations aren't necessarily working the way they're supposed to with new york city transit authority tweeting out moments ago, they're advising everybody to come out from underground if they're trying to take the subways, they're trying to get those working as well. polo sandoval is out and about, gathering more information for us. polo, tell us what you're seeing and what you've learned. >> reporter: ana, for many people here in midtown manhattan, what was supposed to be a saturday night, catching a broadway show, is resulting basically in standing on a sidewalk on a summer evening, both for new yorkers and tourists. i'm at eighth avenue and west 52nd, basically times square is just a couple of blocks that way as i pan over to show you what the situation looks like here on 52nd. some of the people you're looking at, all these people
were standing on the sidewalk waiting to go inside to catch a musical, but obviously about an hour ago their plans were interrupted and now they're basically forced to wait out here. and as we pan over to give you kind of a shot, we're going to be looking north down eighth avenue, which is a major, major avenue here, major thoroughfare in new york. a lot of people are resort to go the buses because of the many sw subway stations that are closed. the one at columbus circle, i was there a few moments ago, the attendant there said because of the blackout that subway station will remain closed. i noticed a little while ago employees from area businesses that essentially stepped into the streets to try to essentially direct traffic. keep in mind, the traffic lights do not work here. and so the issue here is that a lot of people have to basically certainly look both ways before crossing. so the employees at some of these businesses are now essentially manning these
crosswalks and stopping traffic because police are obviously having a pretty tough task ahead of them, ana. i'll keep showing you these pictures in midtown manhattan as the streets are packed with people who were planning on dinner or a show are forced to wait on the sidewalk to see what comes next. >> polo, are people panicking? what are you hearing from these people? >> reporter: i think people are just wondering what's going on. i overheard one young woman just checking into the hotel for a week here in new york, she said to me, it's going to be a long week, obviously, if this keeps up, as we get updates from authorities. of course they're certainly hopeful this will get resolved before tonight. but i can tell you, having lived in new york just a few years %-p extent a little eerie. as you look inside the
businesses that would normally be bustling on saturday night, restaurants, movie theaters, broadway theaters, the iconic radio city music hall lights are dark. >> new york fire department, we're getting reporting that they're responding to electrical fires, 64th, west end avenue. so we know the power outages are part of the upper west side, part of midtown where times square is, those are the areas currently impacted. it seems like the outage is growing rather than becoming more limited with coned tweeting they're still trying to determine the root cause of this power outage.
polo, it's hod in new yot in ne. >> 85 degrees a little while ago. yesterday i was in queens having dinner with my wife and in the middle of dinner the lights basically went out. obviously, as you point out, there's no way of telling if that's directly related to this incident, but i can tell you for sure in queens there was a very similar incident that took place, and it got extremely hot in that restaurant, extremely quickly. i can only imagine what it's like for many of the people who are here in manhattan today, having to experience, having to put up with the heat. of course we all know manhattan goes upward, so you can just imagine being in some of these apartment buildings, the power is out, that's one of the main reasons you're seeing these sidewalks just covered with people, they're everywhere. it's much busier than a normal saturday night in new york. >> cnn's richard roth also joining us on the phone from lincoln center.
richard, walk me through what you're experiencing there. >> reporter: i'm probably living the experience of thousands of new yorkers, 18 floors up in my apartment with no electricity or power, looking out and seeing thousands of apartments, the canyons of upper manhattan, new york, dark. the sun is still out but fading. people are checking for flashlights. neighbors in new york who don't talk to each other for five years are opening their door to offer help and then going back inside their apartment. memories of the big blackout of 1965, in november, and memories of the 2003 blackout, come rushing back. i was watching television and suddenly all the power went off. last night my microwave lost power and i thought initially i had blacked out the whole city, but that doesn't appear to be true. you hear a lot of police sirens and see more than usual on a saturday night. on a night like this, on a
weekend, you wouldn't have that much activity outside. things are picking up a bit. i can't say i'm seeing signs of many people going downstairs, because you have to work in some cases 18 floors before you decide to do that, relatively in the dark. >> richard, have you ever experienced a power outage like this in new york? >> reporter: yes, when i was a young boy, there was the excitement of the lights going out in queens, new york in 1965. >> i was thinking more recently since then, i'm a relatively new new yorker and haven't experienced anything like this. you think about just how many people are packed into a relatively small area in the city. this seems so unusual. >> reporter: we had this 14, 15 years ago, very soon after 9/11, and there was much more concern and panic -- not panic but deep concern. that happened in the middle of the week, toward the rush hour.
so this is happening on a weekend. and presumably far fewer people are here on manhattan island at that moment. >> do most of these apartment buildings have generators and other ways to pump electricity through? >> reporter: if they do, i do not see a single light on here. i got a notice from the building management saying we heard reports of widespread power outage on the west side of manhattan and we're checking and doing anything we can, but there really is nothing to do. so of course i happen to have purchased a large quantity of food to go in the refrigerator for the first time last night, so you start making plans with limited sunlight now, you try to position your apartment so you're ready when everything's out. of course this is far from the nightmare conditions people are having to undergo in louisiana and elsewhere. but that's where we are at this moment. subway disruptions, of course. but people are walking on the
street. you wouldn't know there's a blackout if you were looking down from high above, but you'll know it later on when the sun is completely down and you won't see a single light on. >> right, we're seeing the images, the sun shining down on the street, you can tell it's in the process of setting, it's 8:10 local time in new york city. hang on, richard, we've established a better connection with brian stelter. >> reporter: i've switched to another cellphone. we live near columbus circle, this extends from lincoln center to columbus circle, rockefeller center, the entire west side of midtown manhattan. the primary thing i noticed was the wi-fi and air conditioning going out an hour and a half ago. and now the air conditioning unit's sound has been replaced by the sound of whistles, those are crossing guards at the
intersections because the intersections have now turned into four-way stops. crossing guards have arrived at intersections right away and fire departments are arriving at buildings right away to get stuck elevators reopened, a very quick response from fire trucks and emt's to make sure people are out of elevators. as richard is mentioning, right now it is still light out, one of those long summer days. i think an hour from now we'll see a lot more tourists starting to head home. the people out on the street, tourists who are visiting manhattan, are just intrigued by this. but in some cases their hotel rooms don't have power either. when you hear about the number of units or number of locations without power, in some cases that could be dozens or hundreds of people at a single location, given the high-rise nature of manhattan. it will take a little bit of time to find out just how many people are affected. and of course it's a warm evening, we'll start to see if
tourists and locals decide to just open the windows and wait it out or try to leave the neighborhood for the night. >> and again, nobody knows how long this is going to last because first and foremost, they need to determine the root cause of this. transformer fires have popped up. stand by for me, brian, i want to head out to the streets, polo sandoval is in midtown manhattan. polo, we're seeing in some of these images a lot of flashing lights, a lot of authorities out there now trying to do traffic control. what do you see happening? >> reporter: authorities are trying to keep up with the need to man these kinds of index intersections, ana. i'm showing you a live phone shot of eighth avenue and west 53rd street in midtown. the only lights, aside from the head lamps of vehicles, are authorities that are obviously scrambling throughout town to answer to various calls. obviously this would be the bulk of their call load. what's interesting that i noticed a little while ago, we
talked about it shortly here, i noticed some of the business employees actually took to the streets and were manning some of these crosswalks with neon vests to essentially try to stop traffic to prevent an auto/pedestrian incident. i'm showing you images looking down eighth avenue, it really is quite the sight to see, after what our colleague richard roth just mentioned, there's certainly no sense of panic at all, just people wondering what's happening. obviously word is circulating very quickly about social media about what's happening in this partial blackout. people are really just asking themselves exactly what's going to come next. the line that you're looking at, these are folks who were preparing to go into one of the theaters here, the iconic broadway stretch here in times square. obviously their plans are now changing. many of the people you're looking at here traveled a long way to be here to catch this show and now unfortunately they're left wondering what is
exactly going to happen next, ana. >> so are you saying, polo, a lot of the shows to the night o broadway are not going on as planned? >> reporter: i spoke to a member of the crowd, they were here to see "mean girls," they said they're not going to be able to go into the theater especially since it's pitch dark. the show hadn't started yet, many people had tickets in hand. it's questionable what will happen next, and exactly how many of the shows have been affected. >> i think the biggest question a lot of people have on their mind, it's new york city and this is an unknown cause, could it be anything feff nefarious a what exactly is happening right now, the fact that authorities don't seem to know what's happening is concerning. we have a tweet from the fire department in new york saying they're addressing a spike in call volume by relocating resources to manhattan. the loss of power is from fifth avenue to hudson river and west 40s to 72nd street.
they write, please be patient, call 911 only if you have a true emergency because they're being flooded with calls. obviously people are scared and wondering what they need to do, what they need to know. and people are caught in elevators, that's one of the things they're responding to. cory johnson, new york city council speaker, do you, sir, know what caused this, was it anything nefarious? >> well, we don't have information on that yet. we know where it initiated from, which is a neighborhood in the council district that i represent on west 49th street between 11th and 12th avenues, so pretty far on the west side of manhattan. there is a con edison substation. that con edison substation saw what con edison is describing as a major disturbance. they're not specifying what exactly that means but clearly something significant happened there. and so as you just mentioned, ana, from west 42nd street and
eighth avenue which is sort of the heart of times square all the way up into the west 70s to the heart of the upper west side, there is a significant power outage which is affecting nearly 40,000 con edison customers. there are five subway lines which anyone who has been to new york city knows how important the subway is to be running. five subway lines are currently not running. the a line and the c line, which run on the same line, and the f, the d, and the m train as well. those five lines are currently sitting. the 1, the 2, and the 3 are running. there is a hospital in hell's kitchen, a significant hospital called st. luke's roosevelt. that hospital lost power. it's now running on a backup generator although i'm told it doesn't have air conditioning because it's on a backup generator.
that's what i have so far. con ed has mobilized an emergency response but they haven't given specific or exact information about what caused this initially. >> and so you've actually spoken, i understand, with the head of con ed, that's where you're getting your information? >> yes, i spoke with the ceo of con edison, i called him and that was the information he gave me about 25 minutes ago. >> and what is the plan now? >> well, the plan is they have to get the power back on. and how to do that, i'm not an expert, but they've mobilized the full emergency response center and they have crews on the scene at that west 49th street substation. so my hope is that they can figure out what caused this disturbance and get things up and going again because, you know, it's not super hot but it's hot, it's in the 80-degree range in new york city, and
there are people, senior citizens and folks that need power. and we have a hospital there and other things. we want to make sure it comes on right away. i heard a few minutes ago from the chief of the department, from the nypd, terrence monahan, who said if there are any emergencies, people should call 911, if there's someone that needs help. the city needs to mobilize to make sure we get the power back on, we provide accurate and calm information to the public and we get help to anyone who needs it. >> what is the biggest concern you have right now? is it people trapped in elevators, is it chaos on the streets? what do you think? are you still with me, sir? cory johnson? i think we may have lost him. again, we do know that a lot of people are making phone calls right now so we may have some of these disturbances when we're trying to communicate via phone right now. josh campbell is with us, a
former fbi supervisory special agent. josh, what are you experiencing, what are your thoughts on what's happening right now? >> ana, we often take city services for granted until they suddenly stop working. that's obviously being felt in a very large way right now in manhattan. one thing that's important to note is the new york police department, the fdny, they prepare constantly for a number of public safety issues, both man-made and accidental. as we look at these pictures and get these continuing reports, investigators are trying to determine what happened and then obviously ensure public safety. he have the public response, obviously when you have power that comes out and intersections that are no longer traffic controlled, you have people possibly in buildings and elevators, you have that initial response, again, in order to ensure public safety. in addition to that you have the investigation to rule out anything nefarious and get to the root cause of what's happening.
>> okay. we just lost josh campbell. we'll try to get him back. again, the latest report we have from con edison is up to 42,000 customers in new york city are without power right now. they're working to restore power, they write. it's primarily on the west side of manhattan right now, near midtown, in the upper west side. i want to bring in chad myers who can talk us through a little bit about that's power outages and what we're seeing happening. >> ana, very much a touristy area, upper west side from the 60s sounds like down to the 40s, certainly times square, the time warner center, columbus circle there. and on the west side of the park itself. so right here i'm going to zoom in for you and show you truly where this is. i'll try to draw you a little map. upper west side, the hudson river, down to 40-something, then back up through here. that's the box we're talking about.
42,000 customers. i think, as brian stelter was talking about, there's a lot of people stacked on top of each other, to really figure out whether we have 42,000 homes, 42,000 buildings, or just addresses with some being 101, 102, 103 and the like. columbus circle, down through here would be broadway, into times square itself. it's an area with a lot of stop lights, cross streets, and pedestrians, and cars that aren't used to pedestrians walking cross at any time, there's always a walk or a don't walk. this could be a little problem for a while certainly. we're talking about 85 degrees, so nothing that would be deadly, i think, to most people out there with a window open or too. certainly not comfortable but not the 100-degree or 105 heat index like we might see next week or even a week from now. this will be a hot place to be next week as the heat index will soar. at least for right now, 85 is bearable. we'll see what happens to this,
but still lots of power out here and a lot of people walking around, not knowing what to do, not being able to buy anything because all the computers are out as well. and not being able to go to all these shows because, well, that's broadway. >> how concerning is it, chad, when we speak with this new york city council speaker who tells us that there's a hospital right now running on backup generator, but they can't run their ac. we're talking about a hot summer night. >> absolutely, no question about that. when you get onto the backup power there, everything is being used for absolutely the most important items. everything that's plugged into that little red socket, if you ever go to a hospital and see it, it could be a different color, but for the most part this is the most essential things, the breathing apparatuses, the heart machines. but the air conditioning out, it won't take long to heat those places up especially since the sun is still out.
>> chad meyer, thank you. please stand by, we'll continue to coverage the breaking news story, a power outage in new york city, really darkening the entire downtown area or i should say midtown area near times square, the upper west side. right now con ed, the power supplier, is working to determine exactly what the cause is of what they're calling a major disturbance on a substation at west 49th street, according to new york city council speaker cory johnson. we'll continue to follow the story. subway lines aren't running, theaters aren't admitting patrons right now, and traffic is in a bit of chaos with streetlights out. stay with us. you're watching cnn. award winning interface. award winning design. award winning engine.
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but we're also a cancer fighting, hiv controlling, joint replacing, and depression relieving company. from the day you're born we never stop taking care of you. our breaking news, we're following news of a major power outage in new york city. more than 40,000 people without power right now as night falls in manhattan, on the 42nd anniversary of the 1977 blackout. you can see how dark it is right now in times square. subways are down. streetlights are out. a city that thrives on night life, the city that never sleeps, is in trouble tonight. restaurants are shut down. broadway shows are dark. and as you can see, times square is too. cnn's josh campbell is back with us now. josh, as night falls, what is your biggest concern? >> reporter: so this has been
the big issue here, and that is time. it's just now getting to be official sunset time, which is obviously going to make the job of law enforcement and emergency services that much harder, both due to the response to this incident but also the typical public safety and enforcement that goes on on any given day, that still has to continue as well in order to ensure public safety. let's talk about what law enforcement is doing and what the public can do to make their jobs easier. the nypd has a 24-hour command center that's always operational whenever there's a major incident, whether man made, whether an accident, something involving public safety, they'll surge personnel to the public information center and out to the various precincts to ensure public safety. we've heard reports of people trapped in elevators, and that will be their main focus, the safety of those people, to prevent loss of life. and the investigation, until they've ruled out anything nefarious, that will be obviously a key focus, what
caused this to happen. finally, for those listening who are impacted, what they can do to make the job of law enforcement and emergency services easier, the first thing you want to do is make contact with your neighbors. you might want to check in on them. it's 83, 84 degrees right now. obviously if they're elderly neighbors, you want to make sure they're okay, that they have access to medication and the like, again, as the sun goes down, that will make it more difficult to even navigate one's home. and secondly, ana, stay off the streets. again, officers are going to be out there responding. they're going to be controlling intersections. you'll have the fdny emergency units trying to rescue people out there, possibly. they don't need onlookers and folks who want to take pictures and experience what's going on in the street. to make their jobs easier, if you're in manhattan, best to stay home. >> josh, we're getting a tweet from mayor bill de blasio in which he says that new york city emergency management is working with the nypd, the fdny and city agencies to respond to these
power outages in manhattan. he says, due to a manhole fire earlier this evening, disruption, he says, is significant. we'll have updates soon. we are hoping to talk with the mayor here any moment now, as we get some live pictures from new york city and video as well. there's still power outages, it's spotty. it's not all of maen m manhatta significant because the part of manhattan where it's impacting people are touristy spots, high-rise buildings, people trapped in elevators doesn't, so there's major concern from a safety perspective and beyond. josh, if it's a manhole fire, what are your thoughts about that? >> reporter: so again, you know, police and fire department, they constantly prepare for any type of incident that may impact public safety. that includes man made incidents. obviously we've seen those in the past. and things that are accidental,
things happen when it comes to the power. we've seen that in new york, we've seen that in other cities. and emergency services are constantly training with each other, again, when something happens, again, they want to ensure that the public is safety. when we hear the report here that there's a man made cover and possibly a fire, that tends to lend itself to less of a nefarious, possibly intentional act, and authorities can focus their attention exclusively on patrolling the streets and making sure anyone who is trapped is rescued, and public safety throughout the night here. they don't know when power will actually be restored. the investigative side will continue until they rule that out 100%, but that's a good sign, that it tonight appear right now to be manmade, when you hear that it was an accident. we're not out of the woods for emergency service, a city that is often lit up has now been plunged into darkness.
you can bet that fdny and nypd personnel will be recalled to work throughout the night to assist the public until they can get the power up. >> this is a picture from one of our affiliates, wabc. some of these show subway stations. new york city transit authority is asking anyone to come up from those underground stations for safety concerns. we do know there are a number of subway lines not running. however it does appear there are at least some that still are, so it's not completely been shut off. josh, stand by, i do want to bring in juliette kayyem, former assistant secretary at the department of homeland security. juliette, what is crucial to public safety at this time? >> so there's a couple of things, of course. obviously you'll want a footprint of public safety commission to calm people down,
sort of a preemptive thing to make sure areas impacted by the blackout are safing e ing igoine evening. as josh was saying, there's no reason to think there's going to be people taking major advantage of the situation. it's a limited area in new york city, i know it doesn't feel that way to people there now. but i do want to put that in perspective in terms of what's going on. as i just tweeted out, and what i can tell from my experience, there is a little piece of good news here, at least in the sense that -- well, two pieces. one, we don't think it's anything nefarious. the other is you're seeing how systems have been built since the major blackouts of the past. we've built our critical infrastructure from a homeland security perspective to ensure that it has what we call failsafe systems, so if something does go bad, it doesn't impact a rather large area. so i think what we're seeing and what we're probably going to
learn is that the way the system was built is that it really shut itself down to ensure that the blackout did not impact any other areas. i know that's not great news for the people in the blackout now, but certainly the difference from a public safety perspective of a city all in darkness and a limited area in darkness is huge. so that's sort of what i'm looking at from the homeland security perspective right now. >> okay, juliette kayyem, stand by. we want to squeeze in a quick break. for those viewers who may be joining us right now, our breaking news tonight, what is a significant power outage in new york city right now. many important parts of this city are shut down. a hospital is running on backup generator. we'll be talking with new york city mayor and 2020 presidential candidate bill de blasio when we come back. you're watching cnn. sprint and get both anou co unlimited plan and the all new samsung galaxy s10e included for just $35 a month.
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our breaking news tonight, a large blackout affecting medicimidtown manhattan. more than 40,000 people in new york city have no power on this hot summer night. no lights, no air conditioning. people are trapped in elevators. we're hearing the blackouts are centered in midtown and parts of the upper west side. the theater district is included, times square is included. radio city is included in this.
we're told it's all because of a manhole fire. the most important concerns right now are rescuing people who are trapped and working on getting the power back up and running. right now we'll go to mayor bill de blasio in waterloo, iowa on the campaign trail tonight. mayor, give us an update. what happened? >> ana, we're getting the preliminary reports, what it appears to be is a transmission problem. con ed in new york city is working to address it now. we hope to have news on when the power will be restored. the information we have is about 40,000 customers affected. all of our first responders have been deployed now, so folks who are in elevators will be responded to by our fire department, our police department. so this situation is being addressed very rapidly. a lot of personnel are being sent to the west side of manhattan to address it. our first deputy mayor is on the scene, our emergency management
commissioner. what it appears to be, ana, is a specific transmission problem and hopefully it can be resolved in a relatively quick period of time. >> you tweeted out that it was a manhole fire. is that believed to be the cause? >> we're still getting more information. this is very early on in the situation, ana. so we're waiting to get all of the facts. what i'm trying to make clear is it's something within the normal electric grid, something that obviously didn't work. but no other kind of external influence here. this appears to be something that just went wrong in the way that they transmit power from one part of the city to another to address demand. con ed will give us an update soon on revolvisolving it. meantime our focus is on making sure anyone with immediate needs, our first responders will get to them right away. >> are you confident that nothing nefarious is going on here? >> at this point, ana, and very important to say, when we're an
hour or so into a situation, we should never overstate the facts. but i've talked to our police commissioner and our deputy commissioner who handles counterterrorism. from what we're seeing at the moment, this is simply a mechanical problem and one that sounds like it is addressable in a reasonable period of time. >> has con edison, do you know, identified exactly what the problem is? >> i don't have the details but i know that they know where the problem occurred in their system. it is there in the west side of manhattan where it occurred. to the best of my understanding, one of the lines between their substations had a problem. at this point, limitit is limit that one part of the city, which is a business part, but it's limited and hopefully will stay there. >> first it was 27,000 people without power, then 40,000 people without power, now it's
42,000 people without power. it seems like it's still growing. if it's limited and they've identified what it is, why are the numbers still going up? >> ana, i think the point is, again, everything is preliminary information. we should be really clear about this. until all is looked at, we can give all the facts, i don't want to overstate anything. what i do know at this point is it's a limited part of manhattan, not going that seems to have any impact beyond the west side of manhattan. that's still a real problem, but it does seem to be contained. >> we're talking about high-rise buildings, streets that are always congested, subway systems, mass transit used by millions of people. how often do you prepare for something like this? how do you do it, how do you prepare? >> it's rare, ana, i have to say. no, we prepare all the time. we have in the office of emergency management, they prepare with the fire department, with the police department, for exactly these scenarios. i have to tell, blackouts have become pretty rare in new york
city. i'm hopeful, again, this is something that will be of very limited duration. but no, we used to have a fair number of them. lately, certainly in the six years i've been mayor, they've been very rare in the scheme of things. >> are you planning to return to new york city? >> i'm going to get more information in the next hour or so, and we'll adjust my schedule accordingly depending on what i hear. >> what are your biggest concerns right now? >> my biggest concern initially was to make sure that there was no foul play, and again, until everything is resolved, everything is looked at, we can never say anything definitively, but at this moment, it appears to be a mechanical issue. that's the first concern i had, to have the nypd confirm to me, and obviously working with our federal partners, that we're we're seeing is something mechanical. the next concern is for anyone in a situation where they need immediate help. that's the folks in the elevators, especially. i understand there's two subway trains as well that help is going to right now.
they have air conditioning, they have lights on, i'm told. and those passengers will be gotten off those trains immediately. those are the folks i'm concerned about first. but then of course we're going to do everything we can with con ed to get that power back on. >> it's so unusual to see new york city in the work, and that's what we're seeing right now. while you're on the road, who is the point person in charge in new york city, on the ground right now? >> first deputy mayor dean houlihan is going to the scene as we speak. our police commissioner, jimmy o'neill, emergency management commissioner, all those folks are attending to the issue right now. >> what do you think about this timing, 42 years to the day from the famed new york city blackout of 1977? >> i'll tell you, that was one of the most difficult days in terms of nothing compares to a 9/11, but for a day in the everyday life of new yorkers, that one lives in legend because it was so shocking. it was in the middle of the night and folks were so scared.
that was something we all remember, my wife was on a subway train, in fact, stuck between stations in the bronx when it happened. we haven't seen anything like that in a long, long time, thank god. again, hopefully here we have a sideways that condition handle quickly and limit the number of people affected and the impact and just get things back to normal quickly. >> for those who have left their apartments or hotel rooms or their grocery store, wherever they were, and gone outside because they don't know what else to do, what do you tell them? what should new yorkers do right now? if they're affected by this blackout. >> we're -- yeah, ana, first of all we're going to get people out to people constantly. wanted to be with you here to give people the facts as we know them at this minute. we'll be getting information out constantly over the next few hours. the most important thing is to take care of folks with immediate needs.
folks may want to get outside if they're more comfortable outside, that makes sense. the rest of the city, the rest of manhattan is operating normally. what we want to do is get to the bottom of how long it's going to take to fibs x it and give peop bigger instruction on how to handle the coming hours. >> okay. we want to get that word out as soon as you have any information, please, please let us know. we know you have a lot of to tend to right now. mayor bill de blasio, we appreciate you taking the time. thank you. >> thank you, ana. again, if you're just joining us, new york city is in the dark, a portion of the city. 40,000 customers do not have power. these are images right now, aerial pictures over the busiest parts of manhattan. we'll continue our coverage of the new york city blackout here on cnn. stay with us. we run right into these crises, and we do not leave until normalcy is restored. we'd been working for days on a site in a storm devastated area. a family pulled up.
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if you ride, you get it. geico motorcycle. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more. large areas of new york city are experiencing a power outage tonight. this is from manhattan, a subway station after the midtown blackout hit. according to the person who took this video, passengers were apparently stuck on the q train for about 45 minutes, this was between 63rd and lexington avenue, and 57th street and 7th avenue for those of you who are familiar with manhattan. when the passengers finally got off, they walked backwards to exit the subway system. they tell us.
let's go to paolo sandoval. >> heart break, that's what we're encountering as we get closer and closer to times square. before we let you hear from some of the folks on the streets. take a look at this picture behind me. you're looking down 7th avenue, a few blocks that way, central park. you're looking north. it's incredible to see how dark it is here. it's completely dark. we mentioned theaters. you're talking about a massive tourist presence here, people who come from all over the country to catch a show. you didn't have to cox too far. tell me what was it like for
you. what were you doing and what did you see? >> my kids and i were on our way to frozen. and we've been waiting all week to see it. hopefully it's not our theater, as we got closer to the theater, there were so many people there. no one knew what was going on. it was a little stressful. we were bummed about it. >> stressful but at the same time, no panic. how would you describe the scenes on the street? >> everyone was patiently waiting to know if we were going to see the show or not. no craziness? >> what's next for you. you don't get to catch frozen. >> i know, i don't know. maybe serendipity for some hot chocolate. >> ultimately, you guys are okay? >> we're great. >> you heard from one of many voices, these are people who are crowding the streets right now. i heard from many people who say
their hotels have power. the people who are in those darked out buildings, they're now basically going into the ones that do have electricity to get a little bit of air conditioning, to get something called a drink as they wait to see when power's going to be restored. the picture you see behind me, is something you don't see any day. that is 7th avenue and very little lights. >> from what i can tell, it looks like the traffic lights are out, is that true? >> they are. and if you go one block south, you see the traffic lights are working, you go one block north, obviously things are dark. >> regular civilians and employees. they're essentially stepping into crosswalks. brightly colored vests to try to direct traffic. it speaks to the sense of action that we saw from the people here in new york.
>> that is a reassuring sight for many people. the tourists, like the ones you just heard from. >> other shows are having to postpone their performance from tonight. from cher's show, paolo sandoval, thank you for staying on top of this story for us. trying to learn what's going on. how people are reacting to it, a power outage in new york city affecting roughly 42,000 con edison customers, is the latest update we have, you can see areas around times square in the dark tonight. you're watching cnn. much more of our breaking news coverage when we come back. ♪
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it's a blackout. in parts of the city tonight. tens of thousands of people now without power in the big apple. mostly in the midtown part of the city, the famous electric billboards in times square, many of them are in the dark. restaurants, theaters, stores, apartment buildings, without electricity. con edison is the power company here in new york city. they say they're working to restore service, for now, much of manhattan on a hot saturday night in july is in the dark. and cnn's brian stelter joins us by the phone. i know you are steps from central park, what does new york city look like tonight from your vantage point? >> the crossing guards are running the intersections, they have their flashlights out directing traffic. carnegie hall is nearby. some of the performers weren't able to put on their show, so they came out to the street and