Wonderful piece in SmithsonianMag about the infamous 1965 NYC blackout, which expanded to affect large parts of the east coast, and how radio came to the rescue.
About 5:15 p.m. Eastern time, half an hour after sunset, the lights began to flicker. And flicker. And flicker some more. The New York Times would later describe it as a “wild flickering for about a minute, like a silent alarm.”
Twelve minutes later, just as millions of New Yorkers were starting home from work, the city went totally black.
It was Tuesday, November 9, 1965, and the beginning of the biggest, most famous blackout this country has ever seen.
It wasn’t just New York City, either. Much of the northeastern U.S. had gone dark—parts of nine states plus three Canadian provinces. In all, some 30 million people were left stumbling around, trying to remember where they’d last seen their candles and matches.