On July 13, 1977, the infamous New York power outage took place. The Big Apple was brought to its knees after a lightning storm. For twenty-five hours, nine million people were in the dark as mass looting and rioting broke out across the boroughs. A thousand fires, sixteen hundred looted stores, five hundred and fifty injured police officers, four thousand arrests. All this while the fear of the notorious Son of Sam murders magnified. A Bronx car dealership had fifty Pontiacs stolen.
Films and books have recaptured the devastation and desperation. Among them, The Bronx is Burning is about how the internecine battles of the New York Yankees eventually led to a championship and a city's redemption. And then there was Men in Black, the late-nineties comedy, in which we learn that an alien caused the blackout as a bad joke.