Times Square's billboards are dark after a power outage hit Manhattan in New York City on July 13. (Thomas Urbain/AFP)

NEW YORK — A widespread power outage in the heart of Manhattan on Saturday shut down some of the city’s subways as iconic parts of midtown, including Times Square and Rockefeller Center, went dark.

Con Edison said it was working to restore power to 73,000 customers, mostly on the west side of Manhattan. The utility tweeted at 10:12 that power was being restored to affected customers and that it expected to have service restored to most customers by midnight.

Saturday’s outage took place on the anniversary of a 1977 blackout in which most of the city lost power. New York was also part of a massive power outage in 2003.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who was campaigning for president in Iowa on Saturday, tweeted that the police and fire departments and other city agencies were working to respond to a manhole fire that caused the outage. The New York City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, said on Twitter that there was a major disturbance at Con Edison’s 49th Street substation and that the utility was working to fix it.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said the outage started at 6:47 p.m., the Associated Press reported.

Pizza shops on the Upper West Side were selling lukewarm slices in the dark with flashlights, cash only. In the Park Central Hotel on Seventh Avenue near West 55th Street, at least 100 guests were sitting on the floor in the lobby in candlelight. At the Wellington Hotel across the street, guests filed out in the dark holding glow sticks and gathered on the sidewalk.

Horse-drawn buggies were still clucking around in the blackout, aggressively recruiting riders as Uber prices surged.

The streets outside Carnegie Hall were dark, aside from car lights and a mobile hot-dog stand. Some teenagers from Idaho and Texas who had come to watch a concert at the hall instead volunteered to hold glow sticks and direct traffic in the absence of stoplights.

“No one was listening to [the traffic director], so we just decided to step up and start directing people to that sidewalk,” said Kadyn Potocki, 14, who lives in Dallas.

Potocki was here for a Millennial Choirs & Orchestras concert with Jennica Reynolds, 44, of Middleton, Idaho.

“It appears that this is not a common thing,” said Reynolds, who was traveling with her 15-year-old daughter, who sang in the hall. “We have blackouts in Idaho all the time, so we like to jump in and help.”

The New York City Subway tweeted that outages at underground stations were limiting transportation from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens into Manhattan. Passengers were urged to use buses and avoid underground stations.

The New York Fire Department said that the loss of power was from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River, and from 72nd Street to the West 40s.


(Chiqui Esteban)

Bailey and Bassett reported from New York City.