Summer of Sam Revisited: The 1977 Blackout

Thirty years ago tonight, the lights went out in New York City. Unlike the placid blackout of 2003, the 1977 blackout plunged a weary, wary city into inky mayhem. Fires burned in Bushwick. Looters tore into Crown Heights. A significant chunk of Broadway was ablaze. Damages went into the hundreds of millions. And no one got shot. In a special issue on the blackout published on August 1, 1977, New York's Thomas Plate wrote about what the cops did and didn't do that dark night. "…[I]t is still somewhat reassuring to know that the NYPD's behavior during the blackout was far more thought out than Con Ed's." Considering what happened in Queens last summer, that is reassuring indeed.

Why The Cops Didn't Shoot [NYM (pdf)]