tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC July 13, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
slowly moved its way up north. but that is the problem for a lot of people. we are hitting the top of the hour. i should mention that the power outage in new york city has now reached well past three hours. here at msnbc along with morgan radford, we've been watching a number of different breaking news situations right now. the big news that we're getting here as we talk to you here at 10:00 p.m. we are now told at least 90,000 customers have been affected by this massive blackout here in new york city. when we first came on air several hours ago and they said that it was only about 20,000 customers, i knew that number was wrong, just based on the sheer topography. you have more than two square miles in new york city where people are in the dark. now we're being told by con edison officials that 90,000 customers which could mean hundreds of thousands of people
are in the dark right now at 10:00 at night. >> just to do a quick reset for anyone who is joining us now. what we are facing out is a blackout in new york city. 90,000 customers conservatively have been affected. and this blackout initially spanned east to west. for those of you in new york that's between 5th avenue and the 40s to the 70s. so that's about 30 blocks of the northern part of manhattan. the fire department has asked that people only call 9-1-1 in there's an emergency. officials are asking people to avoid going underground on the subway as transportation has been heavily impacted. there are certain subway lines that are completely down. we have heard from mayor bill de blasio. he has just announced within the last hour that he will be returning to new york. he was currently at a campaign stop in iowa and through his press secretary he said that he will come back to his city. he also said there was no indication of foul play that this was a mechanical issue that was limited to a physical area.
and he said there was no injuries, that anyone who needs more informations can call 311 or go to notify nyc. and in terms of the cost we are waiting to hear from con edison. hopefully they are going to do a press conference this evening. they have said that they expect that power will be back at around 10:30 eastern. but if you look at that live picture of times square that's on your screen, you can see that a majority of that screen is still black. heavy presence from law enforcement and from the fire department. they said there is a coordinated response between emergency responders. and their biggest concern tonight is keeping people save. this all happened as a result of two incidences of transformer fire and a manhole explosion. this was in a heavily commercial area in the southern part of that blackout region. and then a deeply residential area in the northern part of that blackout region. i know we've been talking all evening about some of the ways that new yorkers are coming together in this moment. and one of the best stories that
i've seen on social media was this moment from carnegie hall. there was a concert happening, and like many of the broadway shows we mentioned, just like the j.lo show and madison square garden, this concert had to let out. when they did, people took to the streets. let's pull up the video and show how new york responds. [ singing ] so for those of you who have not been to a live concert at carnegie hall, you just got a free one out there on the sidewalk in new york city. that is how new yorkers make
lemonade out of lemons. i think that we were talking earlier about how every person who lives in this city, especially since 9/11 when something like this happens our stomach initially drops. it's just the reality of the changed dna of the city and of our nation and this heightened security. but we're lucky that this was a blackout, it was a mechanical issue. so we saw new yorkers coming froth all over the city just like this concert hall and just like people who were jumping in to direct traffic. >> and in contrast to that, the j.lo concert was canceled. and we have video of people out there getting together singing "ain't your mama." a j.lo song. >> people were just frustrated at the j.lo concert. let's bring in kathy park. you as an nbc correspondent here on msnbc news. you have been outside of our studio where it has been pitch
black. are any of the lights coming back on? >> reporter: no. the lights are still out. but morgan and kendis, i had the opportunity to really speak with people from all over the world. a family from england. here i have a family from nashville. and you guys just arrived to new york city. you had plans to see "wicked," which is a very popular broadway show. you are staying at the hotel. fortunately you got out after the blackout and you're walking toward gersch win theater and tell me what happened. >> thankfully we weren't on the elevator. we had gotten to our room ready to go. took the stairs down since the elevator was out of commission. we thought we saw lights ahead but it was just kind of spotty on the blackouts. and unfortunately got there about 7:30, and then about 8:15 they called the show tonight. >> reporter: the show is at 8:00, we're approaching another hour into the blackout?
so what have you been doing in the city? >> well, we basically have just kind of been looking around, walking into shops and see if there's something to do with everything closed. >> reporter: what do you think of the city right now? this is probably not what you were looking forward to when you were planning a trip to the big apple. >> no, not really. [ laughter ] >> reporter: are you keeping up to date? i know. she's being very honest. but it seems like everyone is still in relatively good spirits, right, mom? >> yeah. it's not raining. we weren't stuck on an elevator. we weren't in the subway. so i'm just thankful that it is the way it is right now and there was ice cream to be found somewhere to break the heat. >> reporter: exactly. a lot of these vendors just along the streets, i mine hot dogs, nuts, ice cream. those are still available. i know a lot of the restaurants are closed so that's not bad. right? >> no. >> reporter: but that's the situation though, guys. i know. i'm trying to convince her.
but when the lights go back on, i think her mood is going to change. like i said, this is a situation that people are kind of taking in stride. it's not tense. it's not chaotic. it's a saturday night here, so it's bustling a lot of movement here. i want to show you just kind of what we are seeing right now. obviously, that is 30 rock still dark. we have some of our generators kicking in. so that's why you have some of the floors lit up. but over to the left is radio city. and you can see that the sign is completely dark. a lot of people have been coming by taking videos, some snapshots of this. and then just kind of in the background you'll hear the fire trucks that are kind of coming through the area. and this is kind of drowning some of the noise in our shot right now. but this is something that we've been seeing for the past several hours as they respond to various types of emergencies throughout mid-town manhattan.
but it's interesting to see just how many buildings are completely in the dark. but as i mentioned some of these are lit up because of generators that have kicked in. but a lot of folks are still kind of walking around taking it all in, taking new york city in. it's a city that never sleeps and i don't know if anyone will be getting any sleep tonight. but i did talk to one family who had to walk dozens of flights of stairs because the elevators weren't working. so a lot of folks are worn out from all the walking. i guess you kind of have to get used to it here in the city. >> we appreciate you standing on your feet. i know you've been out there for hours covering this story for us. so thank you for doing that. and thank you for bringing the stories to us. we look forward to coming back to you a little bit later. thank you so much, kathy. >> a couple of things that we're keeping an eye on right now and an ear, too. we're waiting for a press conference from con edison. i do believe as i've looked at these images that some of the lights have -- an increasing number of lights have come back on or maybe it's one of those
tests where if you stare at it long enough, you start seeing different sort of figures. but i do believe that some of the lights are slowly making their way back on. we have a couple people on the phone. jonathan, we've been talking all night long about this effort to try to get all of the lights back on. we're told that they may be able to restore power come mid-might. they had said 10/30 eastern time. this was a difficult thing to get the whole grid back on, isn't it? >> the con ed spokesman is saying their goal is midnight to get the power back on, on the west side of manhattan. that is just a goal. crews are working they say as safely and as quickly as possible to try to restore power to the west side of manhattan. and the goal is for a midnight switch to get it back on, to get it back and running. but it is only a goal at this time. there is a plan right now to do
a 10:30 press conference at west 64th and west end avenue to update on the cause of this incident which appears to be a mechanical fire transformer-type fire that spread and led to the outage on the west side. police, fire, office of emergency management personnel will be joining con ed at that press conference planned now for 10:30 at west 64th street and west end avenue. a leading nypd official says extra police have been deployed all across the west side as a precaution to help with traffic, to help with security outside many of the retailers that are now closed without power just to ensure everything remains safe. extra ambulances, extra fire trucks are also in the vicinitiy to provide assistance as a
precaution. the fire department was also responding to calls of people trapped in elevators. most of them are out. i do not have a final tally on the number of people who were called in for that type of assistance and whether any remain but that there were multiple calls about that throughout the evening. but the headline now is con ed has a goal of midnight to get the power back on, and a press conference is scheduled for about 10:30 on west 64th street with police fire con ed officials to provide an update. governor cuomo saying that he is calling for an investigation into exactly what happened so lessons can be learned and upgrades can be made so that this does not happen again. he is also deploying extra state police and mta personnel as a precaution to try to help with the mobs of people who are now impacted by the lack of subway service on the west side of
manhattan. again, west side has a population of about 200,000 people. of course, that grows with people coming in from new jersey and tourists and all sorts of other visitors and guests to manhattan. so, it is hundreds of thousands of people potentially affected by this. but, again, con ed giving the number of 90,000 customers. and the question was asked earlier, well, what does that mean? a customer is not a person. a customer could be an apartment that has four people living in it. so, just because you have 90,000 customers, there are likely many more people affected by this power outage as a result. so i hope that provides some clarity. midnight the goal to get the power back on. but nothing is set in stone. and as we've seen throughout the evening, information changes, developments happen, midnight the goal to get the power back on. >> and, jonathan, certainly a
fluid situation. i know you mentioned that governor cuomo was calling for an investigation. for those viewers who are just joining us, can you take us back to the beginning and describe what we do know thus far about that transformer and about that manhole explosion? >> okay. there are two incidents that took place this evening according to police and fire officials. and both appear to be accidental, electrical in nature. nothing at all deliberate. and the first one is that at 49th street on the far west side, there was some sort of fire, man hole explosion that impacted service to the west side of manhattan. a short time later on west 64th street, a transformer caught fire, exploded, on the west side there, also impacting. are the two incidents related? unclear. the investigation's going to have to determine whether one caused the other or whether they were two isolated incidents that
both happened to happen tonight, regardless they believe those two incidents caused the power outage on the west side that has affected hotels, subways, apartment buildings, restaurants, and businesses, all across the west side of manhattan. this goes from the 40s up to about 72nd street. and for those familiar with manhattan, 5th avenue is the dwigd line from east to west. so it goes from fifth avenue in the middle of manhattan all the way to the hudson river. that is the area that has been impacted by this blackout. >> and, jonathan, i do want to note a couple of things. first off, if we can take the big shot there of times square where the lights have started to come back on, on the left-hand side of the screen. you will remember that building on the left was dark for the most part. you couldn't make out the lion king images on the left. it would appear that power is
being restored there on the left-hand side which would basically be the west of manhattan. curry johnson who is a speaker of new york city council reporting that sections of helds kitchen and in the west 40s and 50s are coming back online. including the famed and brand-new, as you know, complex there, hudson yards, where the power has quickly been returned. con edison is saying power is restored on man hattan's upper west side. they are estimating more customers will be restored at midnight. we are just getting that in. so it is getting better. >> that is right. and catherine, craig, my colleague just reports at 50th and 9th, power just came on there. so it will be rolling. it is a progression. but if you are without power in manhattan right now, midnight is the goal. >> so it looks as if we are on at least the positive end of all
of this. we want to continue to mention to you some other stuff that curry johnson, again, who is a really key person there. he is a speaker for the new york city council. and he was mentioning that the power outage impacted some six grids in all. and two of those are back on. many people have been saying that he is a potential mayoral candidate. and as a result he has been very out there on twitter today in contrast on the current mayor of new york city who is in an aptly named waterloo. >> he is returning after finding out what happened. but speaking of the leadership here, new york governor cuomo did speak to a local news station, and he said that there was a substation fire that then caused four other substations to lose power and that there was damage to those substations as a result. so we are learning a little bit
more about what did cause this blackout as we get closer to the time when con edison says that power will be restored. they are estimating midnight. we are also hoping to hear with them in a press conference within the hour. >> and they did initially say that the power would be back on by 10:30. and we are seeing that coming into play. the subway stations that have been impacted will remain closed for a little while. there were many, many subway stations that were closed as a result of this subway trains just kept going past those stops that were affected. curry johnson continuing to say that he spoke to the ceo of con ed. he says that there are four other sections that should be back up within the next two hours. as we continue to look at these pictures there from outside the 6th avenue there, the avenue of the americas, on the other side of the hudson, we've been seeing some beautiful images that kind of capture how dark new york has been over the last hour or last
three hours. my colleague richard louis has made his way to the other side of the hudson in new jersey. and, richard, i can imagine you got a good sense of how dark the upper west side was and how it looks from your vantage point. >> reporter: hey, kendis. it's one of those things you and i were on air. you reporting just when the story broke. what happened is when i got off air, went downstairs, got in a car. as you look at that shot of times square, that dark space facing north is where we drove towards and through. past that actually because the other shot that we had which is in front of 30 rock where kathy park is where we drove away from. and then as we went up the west side highway for those who are locals, but it's basically the highway that runs all the way up and down the west side of the isle of manhattan. you can see that which you have been describing and reporting is
all those customers 90,000 plus customers that did not have power. we just stuck the camera out the window, and you can see in that space that there was absolutely no power on. you look out the other side, and what we saw, kendis, were the emergency vehicles that you've been describing that you've been trying to assist. in all of those intersections and places where power's been down for quite some time, they were driving south. and then as we crossed over the hudson and were looking back, you would see that part of manhattan dark. a strange, strange sight. so here i am, and as you can tell at msnbc headquarters, these are one of those contingency plans we had planned. and so it was very strange to see all of those places dark. and of course you being an upper
west-cider, me as well, a lot of folks there probably concerned about the things that need power like their refrigerators and their frozen goods. folks i know that you're saying that you don't have a family and you and morgan were talking about that for a moment. but there are families going what are we going to do with all that ice cream that is no longer ice cream, right? >> i wish ice cream were my biggest concern. >> but there are many people that are impacted by this, the elderly and a lot of folks who might have their pets as well. >> that they can't let out. >> can you imagine having a pet in an elevator trying to walk your dog and then the elevator gets trapped? >> right. >> and there are senior homes there in the upper west side that -- you bring up a really good point there, kendis, in what they have in terms of contingency plans, especially when we are looking at a warm, humid day in man hattin. and we can't forget that there
are still some people at risk until this power does come back online in the upper west side. >> and it helps us also keep things in perspective. we hope that this creates more empathy. we imagine our colleagues in puerto rico who were out of power for almost a year. so this hasn't happened in like 20 years for this city. we were just talking earlier about how this is the 42nd anniversary of the 1977 blackout. that lasted 48 hours. there was significant looting, there were significant arrests. and we also saw a lot of new yorkers come together. and that's a lot of what we're also seeing now. lichd lui. >> in 2007 almost exactly to the date. while we're talking about these power outages there, i'm noting the latest numbers from louisiana where 118,000 customers are without power. and you can see the reason why. i'm going to walk over and show you what is going on because we
are keeping an eye on this situation as well. so this is the center right here. of what was one time hurricane barry. it was a hurricane for roughly about two hours, and it is now a tropical storm. it is moving very slowly, eight miles an hour. we have been watching it just march up there. our biggest concern right now is baton rouge which is expected to get some 18 inches of rain. new orleans for the most part has donnelled a bullet with all ofdged a bullet with all of this. i am going to leave the forecasting and such to bill, but you can see we'll be paying attention to this line because the storm is not going to be moving much over the next few days. it'll still be a tropical depression with about 35-mile-an-hour winds once it gets to arkansas and then into tennessee. and it is impacting all of that,
the mississippi river, which comes right there into new orleans is at 17 feet right now, which is above flood stage, well above flood stage. normally it's at 6 feet. so this is of concern for many people while we continue to watch the situation there in new york, morgan. >> and, kendis, we also have breaking news. we just heard from a con ed spokesperson. they said that two west side networks are back in power. that's on hudson and columbus. we also know that there are four more networks to go. the number without power is starting to go down, but there are no specifics yet on that number. midnight, however, is still currently the goal. and just to be clear, we are still talking about a large swath of midtown manhattan that is still without power. there's hell's kitchen which is still in the dark. times square slowly coming back to life. the northern part of that blackout region which is the 60s and the 70s, that's slowly
seeing power coming back. and we've got about an hour and a half until con edison says that they expect to see power completely restored. we've heard from mayor bill de blasio. he is now on his way back to new york city. he was campaigning in iowa. he is running for -- he's one of the 2020 presidential contenders. he says he is now coming back. he waited for a while to find out exactly what the situation was and to assess the severity of the situation. meantime, we understand that emergency responders as well as new york's fire department as well as new york's police department all coming together to make sure that this city is safe. they have all said that safety is the number one priority. of course, beyond safety we have heard that no one has been injured. but beyond that we understand there's been a significant inconvenience to the city, right? a lot of dollars, a big economic impact, the restaurants have had to close down. they're losing food. a lot of people who are visiting the city have had to cancel their plans to see their favorite broadway plays. a lot of those plays have been shut down.
jennifer lopez's concert, for example, has been shut down. that's right outside of where we're sitting right now. but outside you can see radio city music hall, those lights to the right of your screen, they're usually very brirkts they're a big welcomed sign to tourists, but right now they are almost completely dark. that reflects a lot of what we saw inside. we are lucky that we have lights in the studio as we speak. but the lights that we're working with right now just came on within the past hour because when we were here and we started work and we were here about 6:00 p.m., suddenly around 6:30, the lights went out and no one knew. >> it was fascinating because it happened during the east coast version and central coast version of the nbc nightly news. we heard this big boom in the newsroom here at msnbc at our offices. and all of a sudden the lights flickered and then the generators came back on. but i looked at the studio which
is right behind us, and it all disappeared as if kate was doing nightly news by candlelight. [ laughter ] it was very, very weird to take a look at. >> and remember when i saw you, we were trapped between those two doors trying to get out because the electronic card readers weren't working. >> to let you know the security works fine. like, it'll trap you. [ laughter ] we were trying to figure out what do we do now. and then of course we found out jonathan said it wasn't just third rock, it wasn't just rockefeller plaza but that it's also way beyond that. but even before we go to jonathan, there was a really, really important new yorker who was impacted and has gone to social media. >> i knew you were going to go here first. go ahead them where you were going, kendis. i knew where you were headed. he's a new yorker so we knew he was going to go to the queen first. because he has a special video from the new yorker herself. >> the queen of the 6th train. >> hi, guys. i am devastated and heartbroken
right now. i cannot tell you on the second night of performing at madison square garden after such an amazing night last night, i just don't even know what to say. i just want you guys to know that you're going to get your monies's worth and we are going to come back and we are going to do an amazing show for you. i am so sorry that this happened. obviously it was beyond all of our control. the building handled it really well. they did the smartest thing for everybody's safety. so, i love you. i'm sorry. and i will see you all very soon. >> jennifer lopez. >> aww. it's because her concert at madison square garden. >> the grid was supposed to extend from the 70 to the north, the blackout to the 40s in the south, and madison square garden is at 34th street. and they had to evacuate. >> they started singing and then it was sort of like lights out. >> about three songs in, right?
"i'm just, i'm just jenny from the." >> similar to what beyonce did after her super bowl performance. the lights went out at the super dome. jennifer was like i can do this too. i promise not to ask you a question on the wide-reaching impact of the j.lo cancelation. but in the meantime as we wait for con ed to talk right now, any expectation on what we can hear from these officials? >> well, they're going to be doing this press conference in about three minutes or so. that is the goal for their press conference. we just got an update. before it was 90,000 customers without power just about 15 minutes ago. the number now stands at 32,000 customers without power. so the number is going down. two big networks were restored a short time ago. there are four more to go. lesser networks and they are working on that. the goal is midnight of service
restoration. we'll hear more about that at the press conference. we'll hear from police and fire about the emergency calls they received. we have no reports so far of any injuries. and we should get an update on the number of people they had to rescue from elevators. again -- jonathan i'm going to interrupt you because we got this presser from con ed. we'll go there live. >> responded quickly to the scene and we are working closely with con ed to restore power as quickly as possible. we have no reports of injuries or fatalities at this time. we also have a list of those individuals that are on life-saving equipment and we are working with them to make sure they have what they need. we have put together a joint task force with pd and the fire department to make sure that nobody is stuck in an elevator still. right now i'd like to turn it over to the ceo of con ed, john
mcavoy to get an update from con ed. >> hi. good evening. thanks very much. my name's john mcavoy. i represent con edison. we experienced a significant disturbance on the west side of manhattan at one of our electric transmissions stations at roughly 6:47 p.m. but eventually it interrupted power to approximately 73,000 customers. we provide the electric system into what we call networks which is roughly equivalent to neighborhoods. it interrupted power to six networks. we have expedited the recovery, performed an initial assessment of what was the most likely cause, isolated that equipment, inspected the other equipment to identify any obvious abnormalities. and now we have started the restoration process. of the six networks that we
lost, we have restored two of those networks starting from just before 10:00 p.m. and we are working to restore the remaining four networks by midnight tonight. now, there are some unknowns in this as we restore equipment we may find damage that we're not currently aware of. but we are proceeding on a path to restore all customers, hopefully by midnight tonight. we'll then look at the root causes of the event and restore the system to a fully normal condition once we understand exactly what occurred and what caused the outages that we're experiencing today. >> mcavoy, do you know exactly why this happened? it's not an especially hot day, and thankfully it's a saturday in which businesses and people aren't in their offices. >> right. it does not appear related to excessive load as sometimes has occurred in the past. when we have an incident like this, we focus first on isolation of the failed equipment or the most likely
failed equipment, and then restoration of the customers. and then when customers are restored, we really do the full investigation to identify what may have caused it. that will follow later today and tomorrow. >> the lights just went on behind you. how do you feel about that? >> that was a live press conference from con edison, the electricity supplier here in new york city. now i'd like to turn to governor andrew cuomo. thank you for making time to speak with us this i think. you said the fact that it happened at all is unacceptable. what did you mean by that? >> um, well, thank you for having me. it is not infrequent for a substation to malfunction. a substation fire or a substation breakdown of one cause or another. the system is designed, however, to make sure that when one substation malfunctions, it does not proceed down the line
through the transmission line with a surge of power and disrupt other substations. that's what happened here. one substation went down. it then triggered a surge of power, which took down two, three or four or five additional substations. and the system is designed to avoid that. so, that's the question. i'm going to view the transformers myself tonight because i want to know exactly what happened. we've been through this before. the first order of business, though, is this is a big piece of manhattan. it's roughly 40th street to about 60th street, plus or minus broadway, which is basically the middle of manhattan to the hudson river. and people are more than inconvenienced. it's a public safety issue. traffic lights are out. trains are not running. you don't want to have a city in
blackout conditions. new york has been very well behaved. but chaos could ensue. so i have additional state police going down. we have the national guard on call. con ed says power should be back by 12:00. but my add jaj prepare for the worst and hope for the best. we're going to have personnel on hand just in case we don't make 12:00. >> you mentioned the state police is now getting involved as well as the national guard. what is your biggest concern for new yorkers tonight, governor? >> the number one concern is public safety. you have a number of very busy traffic intersections that have no power. you have trains that are not running. hopefully we believe we've gotten everyone off the trains, which is subway stations -- subway trains in that part of
manhattan. we don't have any reports of people stuck in elevators, et cetera. but you have senior citizens, you have people with medical equipment at home. >> right. >> that they need functioning. you have hospitals in that area that are operating on backup generators, which are only designed for short-term use. so it's the cluster of public safety issues. >> and, governor, i want to go back to something you said a bit earlier. you said that you were going to view the transforms tonight and that this was a function of the system not operating in a way that it effectively should have tonight. so, how do we prevent this from happening in the future? >> well, that's for the after report, but i want to see it for myself. call me a somewhat cynical new yorker. this is not the first time we've had a power outage, but the system is designed, and this con edison is a utility that is regulated. people pay their bills. they are supposed to have a
system that is designed that if a substation malfunctions there are other substations that pick up that power shortfall. and certainly that one substation disturbance doesn't ripple through the system. we've been through that before. >> right. >> and that is not -- the system is designed to prevent that. so, i want to know first hand what happened. these are dangerous situations. you know, you have that density of population, that many moving pieces, that many vehicles. having a six-hour blackout, and let's hope it's only six hours, it's a dangerous situation. make no mistake. and we are doing everything we can to handle it. but it shouldn't occur. >> and governor cuomo, when you say that this should not have occurred, earlier this evening we heard from mayor bill de blasio. he's been campaigning in iowa, and he waited for a little bit to determine and assess the
severity of the situation before he decided that he would in fact return to new york city. are you confident that in the meantime the city is in good hands while we wait? >> i know we have the full state team on duty. we have a state power team that is one of the best in the country, if i may say. we help other states with emergency management all the time. we just spent a lot of time in puerto rico after hurricane maria. so they are as good an emergency management team as any in the country, and they have been there from minute one, they're embedded with con ed, nypd is dispatched. we have additional state police. we have the national guard on call. so i feel confident that short-term we have handled it well. second step is will it actually be over at midnight or not? and if it goes longer, then it's
a different issue, and then we get to what they call the after-action report. i want to know why and how and this can't happen again. >> governor, i know you have to go see those transformers tonight. so i want to give you the last word. do you have any message for new yorkers tonight? >> be the best new yorker today. new yorkers are accustomed to hardship. we deal with all sorts of things. this is an inconvenience. stay home. don't drive. and let's be the best new yorkers we can be. power is out, but we are going to behave with the courtcy and manners that we always do in new york. >> what a message. all right, governor cuomo, thank you so much for taking time it speak to the members of your state tonight and to the members of this country. we appreciate your service and thank you for going to look at
those transformers. have a good rest of your evening. >> thank you, thank you. >> we just heard from con edison. they just wrapped up their press conference this evening. they have confirmed that there were no injuries, and they said that they do have a list of individuals with life-saving equipment so they're giving priority to the people who may need their assistance. they said that this outage began at 6:47 p.m. eastern here in new york city. it affected 73,000 customers. again, customers are not necessarily individuals, but a customer could be a hotel, a customer could be an apartment building. so a customer could be one person or 400 people inside of a building. 73,000 customers is the updated number tonight from con edison, which is the electricity supplier here in new york city. they said that six networks were interrupted this evening. since they have gotten two back on. they think that they will have power back on throughout the rest of the city by midnight tonight. currently it is 10:39 p.m. let's go now to kendis gibson who is outside of nbc studios.
he's there on 6th avenue. kendis, it looks very dark out there. >> reporter: indeed. i'm going to take that as another slight as how i look, morgan, but it is very fairly out here in new york city. i walked outside the building, and i will have to admit, it was absolutely surreal. you have walked outside this building many, many times. you've walked 6th avenue, walked many of these streets. this is an iconic area, radio city, music hall. these sidewalks usually very much lit up. of course, rockefeller center normally would be lit up. this traffic light would normally be directing traffic. but instead it is completely dark, and people are just kind of milling around kind of seeming very, very lost. the street itself as you come out here, once again, the street is kind of like very, very, very -- kind of reminds you of
"i am legend." because it's so -- there is nobody really out here except for a few vehicles that are passing by and a few people around. now, there was a streak there that was taking place a little earlier today. so part of 6th avenue which is a major, major tloro fair. they have been able to restore power to so many of the grids especially on the west side of manhattan, this area is not restored as yet. it is a very, very important area for new york city because it does include the 5th avenue area with all those really high-end retail stores as well as high-end restaurants that are all shut as a result of this. many restaurants and i'm looking at in the meantime, they are normally packed on a saturday night with tourists or even locals. they are losing out on business on an evening like this. i will tell you, though, the
halal guys and all of the hot dog vendors and the regular street vendors, they are doing gangbuster business as well. but it's great to be able to know at least for the most part that it has been a fairly safe night. we have endured at least four hours of this blackout. it has brought many, many people together here in new york city. and we hope that everybody else remains safe while they finally get to restore the power in these parts. >> kendis, we just got breaking news that five of those six power networks have since been restored. but take me for a minute where you are outside. you said there are very few people outside now. but who is out there? is it law enforcement vehicles or are they pedestrians? who exactly is out there with you? >> reporter: i'll tell you for the most part these are just tourists, people who are just bewildered at what they are experiencing at this hour that, it is mostly tourists, and usually, you know, this is a big business area, as you know, morgan, on monday through friday.
so you wouldn't necessarily have a lot of true new yorkers who are out here in the middle of the night. but there are probably also some leftover folks from -- who were here at the street festival. you know a little bit earlier on that new york city was putting out police officers at many, many businesses and at intersections across the street, not sure if you'll be able to tell, you can see a group of police officers who are right there in the middle. they are blocking that subway station. it is a popular subway station. the rockefeller center subway, and there are an increased number of police officers who are out on the street trying to make sure that the businesses and many people do remain safe. and while you had that breaking news as five of the six grids are back up and running, i can tell you where the sixth grid is. probably right here. probably right here right now. i know i tried this a little bit earlier with kathy. can we try to see, just show the
darkness, how dark it is? not sure how that plays on camera, especially because -- >> we see this family coming behind you, right. >> reporter: yeah. you can see right now how dark it is in new york city. it's very, very surreal. >> we can only see the outline, right. wow. >> reporter: i'll smile. >> and what a smile it is. kendis, thank you so much. let's go now to jonathan. you listened to that press conference with us. you heard them say that there were still thousands of people without power. what did you make of the updates that they gave you? did they give us any clearer sense of what specifically happened? >> well, first they said in they need to determine the cause, and that will take some time, transformer a likely possible cause. they said a manhole explosion would not be the cause that would be two incidents to cause
such a major power outage. during that conference, literally the lights behind them came back on. that was an indication that five of the six networks are back up and running. orangeony it was two out of six. then during the press conference they got back up to five out of six. so they are working on the remaining network, which stretches as far south to the penn station area, including other parts of the west side and midtown which they're working on getting restoration. we were remarking throughout the coverage why traffic was moving somewhat well in the blackout-affected areas, and that's because north of the area and south of the area, the nypd shut down all traffic coming into the area. so they prohibited any cars, any trucks from entering the blackout zone. only mta buses were allowed to take people up and down through that blacked out quarter of the
west side. all other vehicles were being prevented from entering to try to keep things under control. police said they did a level iii mobilization which means hundreds of extra officers were deployed. during the news conference the oem commissioner said there were no reported casualties, no injuries. they did and they still do have teams responding to buildings to do elevator checks. they say they have no more reports of anyone stuck in an elevator. but as a precaution with buildings still without power, the office of emergency management with its teams along with the nypd are going door to door to elevator buildings that do not have power just to make sure there's no one still trapped inside. that just gives you an example of the personnel and efforts being made still at this hour until full power is restored. >> and that's a coordinated effort between emergency
responders, the new york fire department, the new york police. we heard from governor cuomo earlier tonight he spoke with us here on msnbc and he said that he was also sending in state police and the national guard. but, jonathan, if you can, the governor said in an earlier press statement the fact that it happened at all is unacceptable. when i asked him about that this evening on the phone, he said that he was going to view those transformers tonight, but that effectively, the system did not work this evening as it was designed to. can you explain to us how was it designed to work? what didn't happen that should have? >> i am not a con ed expert, and that question was asked at the press conference and the ceo of con ed was not able to provide an answer, only to say that an investigation is underway in an attempt to find out the cause and has happened. the governor seemed to suggest it was some sort of cascading effect that this went from one area to the next to the next. i don't know if it happened all
at once or if it is as the governor explained. i think we need to wait and see what the investigation brings in terms of cause and why this happened. of course, it's not supposed to happen, the power is supposed to stay on. it's a saturday. it was not overwhelmingly hot. a lot of businesses were closed on a saturday, so you don't have an overtaxing of the system. so they do not believe that is a cause. but whether it is the fire on 49th street, the explosion or fire of a transformer on 64th street, a combination of those two events happening at the same time. i think we need to wait and see what the investigation finds. but the governor did say he is ordering a separate investigation into what happened to try to get some answers so that it does not happen again. >> so two ongoing investigations. and just a recap here for anyone who's joining us. the headlines from the con ed
ceo at this recent press conference said that the power went out at 6:47. they have identitisolated the et that was linked to this outage. they have started the restoration process. no injuries reported. they are still hoping to restore that power by midnight, and the outage was not related to excessive use of electricity. i know that was a question for a lot of people, especially with these hot summer months and those acs turned on. jonathan, investigative reporter here at msnbc. now i want to show you this interesting moment that happened when the lights came back on in one portion of new york city. take a look at this. [ people cheering ].
>> yay! >> woo! >> might be on 8th avenue, new yorkers cheering, some excited to have the power come back on. unfortunately, i think where we have my colleague, kendis gibson, they're not seeing that overjoyed reaction because the power is not back on yet. let's go to kendis who is out there. i see it is still dark behind you. have any of the lights come back on since we last spoke to you, kendis? >> reporter: yes, morgan, we have been keeping a close eye on the lights and the power grid, at least in this area. so far we haven't noticed much of a difference whatsoever. of course, you had that latest report from con edison mentioning that five out of the six power grids were knocked out as a result of this power outage that took place more than four
hours ago now. five of the six have now been restored. i believe that we're now in the sixth, and this is still fairly in the dark. you can see the situation here. this, of course, is 30 rockefeller plaza. it would normally be lit up. you would be seeing the nbc marquee, the "tonight show" with jimmy fallon would be there. radio city music hall, the marquee would normally be lit up as well. luckily there were no shows there to night. lionel richie will be appearing there on the 17th. they do have a generator though that you can kind of hear buzzing in the distance. the police officers who have been placed on the street as a result of the orders from the governor and the new york city mayor, they are out here in force. they are watching many of the businesses, watching the subway entrances and exits, making sure that people don't try to go down into many of these stops because, simply said, the subways are shut down. the good news about all of this
so far, at least from what we're being told, that it is clearly just an inconvenience at this point for many new yorkers. it wasn't necessarily something that injured anybody as far as we know right now, and there were no casualties that came about as a result of this four-hour power outage that we've had today. that said, it has still been quite a harrowing ordeal for many new yorkers to deal with. it also has been an interesting one because it has brought neighbors together, brought many people who can no longer talk on their phones because their batteries have died, to simply get to know one another. it has been quite sometime since new yorkers have experienced something like this. 2003 was a major blackout, and on this date back in 1977 was that city wide blackout that ended up causing some $300 million in lost revenues. no doubt a lot of people lost
some money tonight as a result of this, but the good news, nobody lost their lives. what an interesting day, morgan, i got to say. it started out where we were paying attention at the very start of the day to that real life threatening situation there in the gulf where you had what became hurricane barry that was moving ashore. it grew in strength overnight and then started just dumping inch after inch of rain on louisiana and has just slowly meandered north at just eight miles per hour and will completely devastate some parts with up to double digit rain. the area of baton rouge, which has been getting rain for several days now, will get about 17 1/2 inches of rain by monday morning. you see the forecast track for the storm. it is going to be sitting with us and dumping some 50-plus mile winds and 35-mile-plus winds straight into monday morning, but of course many of the
forecasters are saying it is not as much a wind event as it is a rain event, and it is a flooding disaster in the making that will be with us for several days. so quite an interesting day this has been where we started out paying attention to that situation there in the gulf, and we continue to do so, and now we're ending up with this situation where a lot of people have lost power. and of note, while power is being restored to most people here in manhattan, slowly but surely, there are hundreds of thousands of customers, which means a lot of people, possibly multiply that by four, more than 100,000 customers in louisiana alone who are right now spending this night without electricity, in the heat and the rain still coming down. definitely our thoughts are with those people as well as it is with the people of manhattan who had to endure a long four hours. >> and speaking of those people here in manhattan, kendis, i know you were there when there was still natural light outside -- >> whoa! >> did it just happen?
the lights came on behind you. look at that. that looks like it was the final grid they were working to restore. kendis, is the marquee lit up? kendis, do you see -- >> reporter: it is back on. the marquee -- the marquee is back on. ""the tonight show"" with jimmy fallon is back on. >> look at that! >> reporter: people are cheering it on. >> the cheers. >> reporter: look at that. the gap, the stores, the lights are back on in those stores. look what a difference this avenue, a major avenue has when it is back on. people are excited about it. are you excited the lights are back on? [ cheering ]. >> reporter: oh, man. that was really kind of cool. i mean i know our producers are really good at stuff, but that was, like, right on cue. >> you couldn't even make that on tv. it is incredible. >> reporter: we're kind of -- not at all. we make a little bit light of it -- no pun intended, or perhaps maybe -- but it could
have been a really, really serious situation for many people. a million-plus people who live here in manhattan, the hundreds of thousands of customers and people who were impacted by this blackout or inconvenienced. so it really was a good situation so you can understand why once the lights came back on, just within the last few minutes -- are you excited the lights are back on? >> yeah! >> reporter: they're excited. i appreciate it. i appreciate you. they can see where i am now. so, you know, it is one of those things that you can understand why there was that -- morgan, that celebration once the lights did go back on and we can carry on with the city. but this had a really big impact, let's not lie about it. many of those shows, "hamilton", "the lion king", so many of the shows were closed as a result of that. we saw the jennifer lopez concert that was -- that was
closed. the show ""to kill a mockingbird" as well was closed as a result of this. so they're going to have to make up for all of those shows for a lot of people, so it is a lost of lost business, a lot of money. but we're happy to know that there were no lost lives as a result of all of this, morgan. >> kendis, speaking of those lost businesses, for those people not in new york, a lot of people are watching this at home from other parts of the country. explain why this was so impactful here. we heard from governor cuomo about the threat to public safety. i know you've mentioned that this was something that we could have narrowly avoided a much more disturbing scene. but in terms of location, talking to people who were outside of new york, explain where you are and why where you're standing right now is so important to the heart of this city and why that area is important even beyond to the rest of the country. >> reporter: i got to tell you, obviously this has nothing to do
with 9/11, but having a situation like this brought up memories of that. i remember walking down 6th avenue where i could see the trade towers go down. i was working at nbc at the time and we were walking back to -- to 30 rock. the streets were shut down. it was eery, it was weird. i remember that situation. obviously this has nothing to do with that. but whenever you have something that just makes -- that triggers you here in new york and just kind of jolts you, it immediately -- if you went through that experience or other tough experiences here in new york, it immediately makes you stop and say, "wait, what is going on, what's going on, this is not normal." new york city is supposed to be a loud city where you have a lot of police cars that are going through, where the streets like 6th avenue are not supposed to be shut down like this and the lights are all supposed to be on and people are supposed to be out and enjoying the city. so whenever you have something
like this that happened tonight, you can understand at least from a new yorker or even as somebody who has lived in other places thought, all right, let's pay attention to what is going on in new york and be curious once again for fellow residents and fellow americans who are there. the good news, morgan, as we've been saying, four-and-a-half hours after the lights went out here in new york city while we were there during "nightly news" and such, the lights are back on. >> right. >> reporter: a lot of people are safe and sound. we will have the very latest on this situation and exactly what took place here with that transformer, the transformer that blew up tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. eastern time, and we continue to keep the thoughts and prayers with the people in the gulf states and louisiana who are dreeling withealing wit we dealt with tonight. >> kendis, we know there are currently two investigations ongoing -- >> reporter: tune in tomorrow
morning at 6:00 a.m. >> -- into what went on tonight. thankfully there are no reports of damage and no injuries reported. we thank you for watching the live coverage here. i'm morgan radford. thank you for joining us. good evening. i'm donny deutsch and i'm thrilled to be here. there are 479 days until the 2020 presidential election and tonight we will break down the week's top stories and see how they're shaping. the battle for the white house, there are lots to cover and this "saturday night politics." ♪ we've got a spectacular group with us tonight. a super spectacular group. but before i introduce them as a tip of the hat to my former friend donald trump -- keyword here "former" -- we have built him a wall. it is a "saturday night politics" wa.
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