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CNN BREAKING NEWS

New Yorkers Take To The Street During Blackout

Aired August 14, 2003 - 17:39   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: John, thanks, and your right, as you see these pictures, it's just amazing how many people just flooding the streets and the freeways there in New York City. A number of these people obviously heading to the boats to try and to get home because the railroads and subway system, 227 stations there within the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, all shut down because of the power outage. Basically your only way to get home would be via the boat system or your car, if indeed you don't need to pass through anything involving electricity.
As we continue to look at these live pictures of what it looks like, we want to remind you this blackout not only in New York City, but Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, Ottawa, Erie, Pennsylvania, parts of Connecticut and parts of Toledo. One of the individuals trapped in the middle of all of this calm, as we're told, mayhem, if I can use both of those words, is our Daryn Kagan. She's out on the streets. Daryn, where exactly are you? What's it like? Give us a feel for what you're going through.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, I'm at the corner of 34th and 8th. I just walked about 20 blocks across mid Manhattan, so I can give you a feel for what it's like out here. First of all, keep in mind it's probably the hottest day of the summer so far for New York City. If you can picture just about the entire population of Manhattan spilled out on to the street because there's no reason to be inside with no air conditioning and elevator service, as you mentioned no subway service.

Most important, I think to mention what you did, is that it's relatively calm. People who are here on 9/11 say it's kind of a similar feeling, except instead of having everybody move toward one direction, everyone has a different direction of where they would like to go. You have traffic that's gridlocked. You have people walking all over the streets in and out of the cars, and doing their best to stay calm, stay cool, although that's not possible, and figure out how they are going to get home or in touch with their loved ones.

Even though I'm able to call you on a cell phone, on top of everything else cell phone service is very spotty here in Manhattan. We had a tough time getting through so for folks across the country who are trying to get in touch with their loved ones through their cell phone, keep that in mind that system is not working really well here in New York today as well.

PHILLIPS: Well, Daryn, are you getting a chance to talk to people there on the street? Are they, not really quite sure -- I mean, Bill Hemmer was saying he had folks coming up to him saying, hey which way is Brooklyn? Do people look kind of confused and frustrated and some maybe not sure how to get back toward home because they can't get on a subway or railroad system?

KAGAN: I don't know that you see that sense of confusion. At least I haven't seen that. You see people just kind of moving, trying to get -- actually not in a big hurry because definitely getting the sense that no one is going anywhere very quickly. But I -- once again, it seems like people are calm and people are making their way. But kind of settling in for the long haul, shall we say.

PHILLIPS: All right, our Daryn Kagan. Hopefully you'll be able to find your way back home, of course, after covering this story. Hopefully the lights -- or the electricity coming back up in a couple of hours.

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