History is made at night
“Amid All the Camaraderie is Much Looting this Time; Seeing the City Disappear”, Wall Street Journal headline, 15 July 1977
The Journal went on to quote a cop on what he saw, as the great Bastille Day break-out unfolded: “People are going wild in the borough of Brooklyn. They are looting stores by the carload.” Another cop added later: “Stores were ripped open. Others have been leveled. After they looted, they burned.”
At about 9:00 p.m. on July 13 the power went out in New York for 24 hours. During that period the complete impotence if the state in our most ‘advanced’ urban space could hardly have been made more transparent. As soon as the lights went out, cheers and shouts and loud music announced the liberation of huge sections of the city. The looting and burning commenced immediately, with whole families joining in the “carnival spirit”. In the University Heights section of the Bronx, a Pontiac dealer lost the 50 new cars in his showroom. In many areas, tow trucks and other vehicles were used to tear away the metal gates from stores. Many multistorey furniture businesses were completely emptied by neighborhood residents.