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Blackout | Image Gallery

NYC in Chaos

New York City in the late 1970s was plagued by severe economic and political troubles unlike any the city's inhabitants had experienced before. Faced with economic stagnation, industrial decline, and the looming threat of bankruptcy, the City of New York responded by laying off city workers and cutting municipal services such as sanitation and after-school programs. The city's already high unemployment rates got higher, and many middle class families — more than 820,000 people — fled to the suburbs in a movement known as white flight, desperate for jobs. Others, angry at the cut in social services and feeling neglected by their government, turned to violence; crime rates rapidly increased as drugs, vandalism and theft became the norm. When the power unexpectedly failed on the night of July 13th, 1977, the darkness and confusion provided an opportunity for even more acts of aggression, such as looting, to take place throughout the city. Explore images of New York in the 1970s, including the years leading up to the blackout, the effects of the fiscal crisis, and the chaos that ensued when the lights went out.

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