Well. If you’ve tried to reach the site lately you’ve probably surmised why you couldn’t. I run my own web server, and living in Chelsea, I was the one of the last to get my power back, at 8:00 PM last night, 28 hours after it went down. This was accurately predicted by a Con Ed functionary I spoke to 20 minutes after the lights went out. “24 hours at least,” he said. Remarkably, he seemed to be far better informed than Mayor Bloomberg, who told the city at 5 PM Thursday night that the power would return in a couple hours, at 6 that it would return by nightfall, at nightfall that it would return by tomorrow morning, and at 11 that it would return Real Soon Now. Bloomberg, Plato’s mayor, apparently considers it his duty to tell New Yorkers what he thinks they ought to do but what he thinks they ought to hear as well.
Previous mayors would have handled things differently. Giuliani would have donned a Con Edison cap and told the truth, more or less. Koch would have waxed Jewish-mother-philosophical and bragged about how big New York’s backup generators were. Dinkins would have been out of town on a tennis holiday and unavailable for comment.
My favorite bit from the blackout was its attribution, by Bloomberg and several other city officials, to a “natural occurrence.” Yes, Mother Nature’s Power Grid went on the blink again. Private corporations screw up and out come the torches and pitchforks. Public utilities cause billions in damage, and it’s an act of God.