New York City blue lights Con Ed


Mysterious blue lights over NYC cause wild Twitter memes

Blue lights at night, New Yorkers take fright.


David Britton

Internet Culture

Published Dec 28, 2018   Updated May 20, 2021, 10:36 pm CDT

The sky over New York City was filled with strange blue lights on Thursday night, shocking locals and causing wild speculation on social media. People thought it was everything from an alien invasion to the crowning of a new Pizza Rat. The real answer turned out to be much more mundane.

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A transformer explosion at the Con Ed substation in the Astoria area of Queens caused the strange light show. No one was injured but LaGuardia Airport lost power, grounding flights. Several homes in the area also briefly lost power and the No. 7 train was delayed.

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“What people were seeing was an electric arc flash,” Bob McGee, a spokesman for Con Ed said, according to the New York Times. “The electrical arc of that magnitude is similar to a thunder and lightning event.”

The New York Police Department did not report a cause for the explosion but did rule out an alien invasion.

Without a clear explanation, New Yorkers were happy to offer up their best guesses.

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The next morning, one man lamented the press for missing out on the perfect headline for the blue lights.

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Con Ed tweeted an apology to anyone who lost power and said that “powers lines servicing the area are stable.”

Con Ed also tweeted a picture of employees working on the problem in the Friday morning light, in case anyone suspected they were slacking off.

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So no aliens, no superhero battles, no wrath of god. It was just another day in New York City, and really, isn’t that exciting enough?


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*First Published: Dec 28, 2018, 2:07 pm CST