Ten years ago today, on August 14, 2003, a power outage affected millions of customers across the northeast and midwest, including in New York City. We remember eating a lot of melting ice cream and chatting with neighbors outdoors, and from the looks of it, most people who lived in Park Slope at the time remember the long commute home.
— Rachel Perry (@rperry110) August 14, 2013
Amy Langfield had a particularly bad trip back to Park Slope, in which the Q train she was on stopped between DeKalb and Atlantic, and it took her two hours to get above ground. And when she did, she found a lot of stores that might have the things she was loking for (batteries, a radio) closed:
Rite-Aid was closed, and customers were pissed because they had batteries but refused to let people in. Radio Shack was closed. Tarzian hardware was closed. Key Food was closed. Even Hagen-Dazs closed. But it was the mom-and-pop stores and the immigrant places that were open, being extremely accommodating, friendly and no price gouging that I saw. Almost all the pizza places were open. Lots of Thai and Chinese places were doing brisk business. Loads of people walking down the street with Mr. Softee ice creams and gelatos.
It was also a chance for neighbors to meet. New York Times photographer Andrea Mohin spoke about driving home to Park Slope from Manhattan, and finding a community she had never had a chance to meet before:
“These women were neighbors near my home that I had never met. I remember thinking how amazing it was that it takes a disaster for everyone in a neighborhood to come together. Interestingly, the same thing happened on 9/11, when everyone spent the evening silently out in the street and on their stoops.”
So where were you on this day in 2003, and what do you remember about it?
Photo by Brendan Loy