NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Power was restored to Upper Manhattan on Friday morning after a brief outage put a swath of neighborhoods in the dark, officials said. Another large outage was reported in Queens about an hour later as tens of thousands of other customers remained without power across the city in the wake of Isaias.
The first power outage began around 5:15 a.m., affecting the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Harlem and Hamilton Heights.
"All the lights just went out in the whole building and the whole block," said Henry Rivera, a doorman on the Upper West Side.
Upper East Side resident Steve Friend said he woke up when he didn't his air conditioning.
"I looked out the windows and there are no lights in any buildings," Friend said. "I looked outside and it's totally black on the Upper East Side except for some emergency lights over at Sloan Kettering."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said later in the day that a lightning strike was the cause of the outage.
About 180,000 customers customers were without power for 28 minutes in Manhattan, according to Con Edison.
Con Edison said three networks in Harlem, Central Park and Lenox Hill went down but were back up by 6 a.m.
In a statement on the "brief service interruption," Con Edison said: "We are investigating a problem on our transmission system that caused three networks in Manhattan to lose their electric supply at about 5:13 this morning. The supply has been restored to those networks on the Upper West Side, Harlem and the Upper East Side."
The utility said scattered outages should be expected in parts of Manhattan as service is returned.
The outage was also affecting the subway, with disruptions reported on the 1, 2, 3, A, B, C, D, E, F, N, Q, R and W lines.
Doorman Shaheed Rahman was stuck underground during the blackout. He tells WCBS 880's Marla Diamond that his subway train sat at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn for about 20 minutes.
"They told us the power was off cause of the shortage and they told us we had to wait or go catch another train," Rahman said.
Metro-North was briefly impacted as well before service returned to normal.
About an hour after the first outage in Manhattan, Con Edison was investigating another large outage in the Middle Village section of Queens starting at around 6:30 a.m. More than 10,000 customers were impacted in the area, including in Woodside, according to the Con Ed outage map.
The LIRR said it was experiencing systemwide delays of 15 to 20 minutes "due to an earlier temporary loss of signal power near Jamaica."
Council Speaker Corey Johnson said power had been restored to Middle Village by 9 a.m., however there were still reports of outages in the area.
The outages come as about 1 million customers remain without power across the Tri-State because of Tropical Storm Isaias' impact on Tuesday, including tens of thousands of households in the five boroughs.
At his daily briefing Friday, Mayor de Blasio said the early morning outage in Manhattan impacted over 100,000 customers and that it “appears to have been weather-related, from weather activity last night.”
“All of those customers have been restored, so that was a very brief outage,” de Blasio said.
However, the mayor called the situation of ongoing outages from Tropical Storm Isaias “unacceptable,” saying there’s been a “lack of clarity” from Con Edison.
“Con Ed continues to be unclear in their response. And this is something we’ve seen before, and I really wish Con Ed would get the memo that they have to be clearer in their game plan for New Yorkers. People are depending on this power,” de Blasio said. “The power has come back on consistently. I want to give that credit. But what I’m not happy about is a lack of clarity and speed about the next steps for the people of the five boroughs.”
The mayor said about 57,000 households in New York City didn’t have power Friday as a result of Isaias.
“From the latest we’ve heard from Con Ed, they are still sticking to the notion they will add another 15,000 to 20,000 restorations today,” de Blasio said. “I want to see that number greatly intensify. Telling people ‘by the end of Sunday’ is not a good answer. We need to see that speed up, certainly for the vast majority of households. And we’ll keep Con Ed’s feet to the fire. And we have urged them to move faster but also offered whatever help they need.”
Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee also slammed the utility over its response.
The only thing reliable about ConEd post-Isaias has been its consistent failure to communicate accurately and effectively to its customers and representative officials," Lee said in a statement. "Power is essential, and the restoration of power especially after a storm is a race against time for safety, public confidence and the preservation of livelihoods. In this race, ConEd has utterly and spectacularly failed Queens."
At his briefing, de Blasio also said the wind damage from Isaias was “the worst wind damage since Sandy” and he called on the state to authorize an emergency declaration.
“Given what’s happened in New York City, given what’s happened on Long Island. This certainly should be a state of emergency,” de Blasio said. “That would help us to activate FEMA support and funding.”
De Blasio said the funding would be needed to help with the cost of the cleanup in the city. He said there were over 1,000 city, state, National Guard and private contractors working to clear tree damage, including workers from the Parks Department, Sanitation Department and Department of Environmental Protection.