In November 1965, New York was blacked out by an electricity failure. The authorities promised that it would not happen again. Pessimists were certain that it would occur again within five years at the latest. (1)_________________________. In 1965, the failure occurred in the cool autumn and at a time of comparative prosperity. In 1977, the disaster was much more serious because it came when unemployment was high and the city was suffering from one of its worst heat waves.
In 1965, there was little crime or looting during the darkness, and fewer than a hundred people were arrested. In 1977, hundreds of stores were broken into and looted. Looters smashed shop windows and helped themselves to jewelry, clothes or television sets. Nearly 4,000 people were arrested but far more disappeared into the darkness of the night. (2)_________________________ and they wisely refrained from using their guns against mobs which far outnumbered them and included armed men.
Hospitals had to treat hundreds of people cut by glass from shop windows. Banks and most businesses remained closed the next day. The blackout started at 9:30 p. m., when lightning hit and knocked out vital cables. Many stores were thus caught by surprise.
The vast majority of New Yorkers, however, were not involved in looting. (3)_________________________, and tried to survive in a nightmare world without traffic lights, refrigerators, elevators, water and electrical power. For twenty-four hours, New York realized how helpless it was without electricity.