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Lights back on in Big Apple after power outage left New York City in darkness

Lights are back on in New York after a huge power cut hit Manhattan, leaving Times Square, subway stations and thousands of homes in darkness.

Authorities scrambled to restore electricity to Manhattan following a power outage that darkened marquees in the theatre district and left businesses without electricity.

The New York City Fire Department said a transformer fire on Saturday evening at West 64th Street and West End Avenue affected more than 44,000 customers along a 30-block stretch from Times Square to about 72nd Street and Broadway.

New York fell into darkness. Credit: AP

Officials with Con Edison later tweeted that they were working to restore electricity to customers and businesses primarily on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Power reportedly went out early Saturday evening at much of Rockefeller Centre and reached the Upper West Side.

Con Edison and New York City officials said electricity was restored to customers and businesses primarily on Manhattan's Upper West Side just before midnight.

At Rockefeller Centre, traffic lights were out while some buildings in Rockefeller Plaza had lights on and others were dark.

The outage came on the anniversary of the 1977 New York City outage that left most of the city without power.

Times Square in the dark. Credit: AP

Many Broadway musicals and plays cancelled their Saturday evening shows, including Hadestown, which last month won the Tony Award for best musical.

Several cast members from the show put on an impromptu performance in the street outside the theatre for disappointed audience members.

Jennifer Lopez's concert was also cancelled in the middle of her fourth song - but that didn't stop fans from partying in the streets outside Madison Square Garden.

A crowd gathered near a drummer who regularly performs nearby and requested Lopez's songs, dancing to her hits.

The singer has promised fans they will "get their money's worth" and re-run the show.

In a video posted on Twitter in the early hours of Sunday morning, she said: "I am devastated and heartbroken right now.

"I cannot tell you, on the second night of performing at Madison Square Garden, after such amazing first night, I just don't even know what to say.

"I just want to tell you guys to know that you are going to get your money's worth, we are going to come back and we are going to do an amazing show for you, and I'm so sorry that this happened.

"Obviously it was beyond all our control."

A store owner in Times Square sits outside his store during the power outage. Credit: AP

Emily Totero, 30, planned to bring out-of-town guests to see Moulin Rouge, but once they got to the theatre district, they saw the power go out.

“You could see all the theatre lights across the street, all the marquees went out. That’s what we noticed first,” she said.

Some shows like Frozen were among the Broadway shows to announce it had cancelled performances.

People walk in midtown Manhattan during a widespread power outage. Credit: AP

When the lights went out early on Saturday evening, thousands of people streamed out of darkened Manhattan buildings, crowding Broadway next to bumper-to-bumper traffic.

People in Hell’s Kitchen began directing traffic themselves as stoplights and walking signs went dark.

Ginger Tidwell, a dance teacher and Upper West Side resident, was about to order at the West Side diner on Broadway and West 69th Street just before 7pm.

The screens at Times Square without power. Credit: AP

“When the lights started flickering, and then were out,” she said.

“We got up and left, walking up Broadway with all the traffic lights out and businesses dark.”

Power down at the subway. Credit: AP

But once they got to West 72nd Street, they found another diner that was open and had power.

“It was still sunny and everyone just came out to the street because they lost power and air conditioning – it was super-crowded,” she said.

“Everyone was hanging out on the street on a nice night. All you could hear was fire trucks up and down Broadway. All of Broadway was without traffic lights.”