'Something Insane Is Happening in the Sky Above Manhattan'

Mayor's office says it was transformer explosion, 'not aliens'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 28, 2018 4:22 AM CST
Updated Dec 28, 2018 6:33 AM CST
'Not Aliens': Explosion Lights Up Sky Over NYC
In this image taken from video, the night sky is illuminated in a bright, blue color after an explosion in the Queens borough of New York, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018.   (AP Photo/Sophie Rosenbaum)

(Newser) – A transformer explosion at an electrical plant lit up the skies above New York City in an eerie, pulsing blue light Thursday night, causing scattered power outages, delaying flights, and sparking a social media storm of jokes about an alien invasion. The blast prompted a brief fire at a sprawling Con Edison facility in Queens—but no injuries—and a spectacular illumination of the New York skyline that generated a flurry of online commentary. The explosion impacted subway service in the area and caused a brief ground stop at LaGuardia Airport, which experienced power outages, the AP reports.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo described a "major electrical failure" at the electrical substation along the East River, near the Rikers Island prison complex and across a small bay from LaGuardia. The lights caused a stir on social media as several witnesses posted photographs and videos of a bright, blue flash that filled the night's sky. The Manhattan skyline and iconic East River bridges were suddenly silhouetted against a backdrop of pulsating light. "Something insane is happening in the sky above Manhattan right now," New York University sociologist Eric Klinenberg wrote on Twitter under a video of the flashing sky. Mayor Bill de Blasio's spokesman Eric Phillips tweeted that the lights were attributable to a "blown transformer." "Not aliens," Phillips tweeted.

(Read more New York City stories.)

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