During this outage, residents went without water or electricity for a two-night, 24-hour period. A thunderstorm triggered a Con Edison system malfunction, which caused the blackout.
PHOTOS: 40 year anniversary of the 1977 New York City blackout
According to Eyewitness News's 1977 coverage of the event, the NYPD arrested more than 3,000 people for looting and disorderly conduct. More than 850 fires burned through the city, and 150 state troopers were called in to patrol the highways.
"As for the looters, vandals and arsonists, it was Christmas in July, a fiesta, a carnival, a holiday," former Eyewitness News Reporter Milton Lewis said about the outage. "They especially enjoyed throwing eggs at me and my crew."
A looter even tried to sell stolen jewelry to an Eyewitness News reporter on air.
Amid the pandemonium, six inmates escaped from Rikers Island prison.
Former New York City Mayor Abraham "Abe" Beame called the cause of the outage "gross negligence," but Con Edison claimed that it was an extremely unlikely "act of god" scenario.
Beame asked religious leaders to ride with police officers during patrols to try to appeal to their communities.
Public transportation was significantly impacted by the outage. After the outage, only 65 percent of subways were running.