“Eerie Blue Sky” at Washington Square Park After Con Ed Equipment “Malfunction” in Queens

“Eerie Blue Sky” at Washington Square Park After Con Ed Equipment “Malfunction” in Queens


The bright blue sky that lit up NYC Thursday night (12/27), dubbed “Astoria Borealis,” the result of a ConEd substation “malfunction” in Queens, reached the skies of downtown Manhattan, including Washington Square Park.

Of the incident, which still seems curious, WABC reported:

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) — Con Edison says an electrical fault at a substation in Astoria, Queens caused an electrical arc Thursday night, lighting up the sky over New York City while causing some flight delays and scattered power outages.

It happened shortly after 9 p.m. at the Astoria East and North Queens Con Edison plant on 20th Avenue and 32nd Street in Astoria.

Initially thought to be a transformer explosion, Con Ed issued a statement on Friday morning explaining what happened:

“An electrical fault on a section of 138,000-volt equipment in one of our Astoria substations caused a transmission disturbance and a sustained electrical arc flash, creating the blue light people witnessed. The equipment that malfunctioned is associated with voltage monitoring within the substation.”

An electric arc is defined as “a visible plasma discharge between two electrodes that is caused by electrical current ionizing gasses in the air.” Electric arcs occur in nature in the form of lightning.

WABC Anchor: “If it’s so ‘routine,’ have you seen anything like it before?”

In the lead up to their on-air report, a WABC anchorman said Con Ed referred to this as a “routine malfunction,” and noted: “if it’s so ‘routine,’ have you seen anything like it before?” I think if the sky was lighting up “eerie blue” “routinely,” people would be taking notice.

You can see some more images at the video at New York Post. And an ‘environmental’ take on it from Grist stating the blue lights were due to “dirty energy.”

Yet, most likely, this will be the only time we see the sky above WSP looking this otherworldly blue color.

** I have been concerned about the privatization threat at Washington Square lately, and it makes me think that if a private entity wanted to make the sky above the park blue somehow, would they be able to?+

+ It seems outlandish but if you go by Bryant Park and see the corporately-funded skate rink taking over a huge swath of that park and the outdoor sales booths taking up this “public space” on top of the corporately-funded restaurant, I imagine that people who loved that “park” some years back would never have anticipated that either.

Photo: Jenny Brockie via Twitter