Watch CBS News

NYC Blackout: 'We're Paying It Forward' As Tourists Direct Traffic Amid Massive Manhattan Power Outage

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Before power was restored, order had to be maintained in Manhattan.

Traffic lights were out from the Upper West Side to Midtown Manhattan. Traffic kept flowing because of locals, and tourists.

Nearly every cross street was filled with members of the community directing traffic.

During the blackout of 1977, the storyline was looting. But in this blackout, the storyline is the community helping, CBS2's Steve Overmyer reported.

Overmyer talked with several women visiting New York for the first time.

"We've been to two musicals, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, a jumbo slice and now directing traffic. We've done it all in New York," said tourist Shawna Potocki.

They were supposed to sing at Carnegie Hall Saturday night. The concert got cancelled, so they turned into traffic cops.

"We're trying to get pedestrians to go that way, so they can cross safely and not get hit by turning cars," said Jennica Reynolds of Middleton, Idaho.

Four two hours they directed pedestrians, giving back to a community that isn't theirs.

"We've been lost over the past three days, and we've reached out for help on subways trying to navigate the streets, and everyone has been overwhelmingly wonderful and helpful to us, so we're paying it forward," Jennica said.

They were scheduled to be on stage. Instead, their stage was a street in Manhattan. They sang "America The Beautiful" as they directed traffic.

When the city is in need, it doesn't matter if you're from New York or Idaho: We're all in this together.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.