United States President Jimmy Carter has ordered the Federal Power Commission to find out why New York was plunged into darkness after a thunderstorm on Wednesday night (13 July).
SV New York's Mayor Beame talking to shop owners
CU Mayor Beame talking to shopowner
SV Mayor Beame inside wrecked shop
CU Federal Disaster Relief spokesman Thomas Casey speaking
SV Mayor Beame surrounded by crowds
SV Workmen clearing wreckage from streets
SV INT. PAN OVER wrecked shop
CU Shopowner talks to reporter
CU Shopowner on telephone
GV PAN ALONG wrecked shops on broadway. (3 shots)
WILLIAMS: "The smell of fires was still in the air of the Bedford Stuyvesant, the debris of that night still in the streets. It seemed that those who had not lost everything to looters were (indistinct). That was the scene Abraham Beame, the mayor and the candidate, faced with a jungle of photographers and microphones to report it, he could become an instant hero or a villein."
BEAME: "We want to try to help you in connection with seeing if we can get you some help from the federal Government and this is Mr Elliot, the Deputy Mayor, who will have somebody deal with your problem right now."
WILLIAMS: "As the mob moved through the shattered glass on Broadway it was clear the real losers of the power lose were those with little power ... the small businessman and woman who have lost too much to try again. The people who had jobs in stores like Kents Discount are now unemployed."
CASEY: "The Small Business Administration for instance, they can declare a disaster for civil disturbance, for the effects of civil disturbance and make long term, low interest rate loans through the businessmen who have suffered a loss."
WILLIAMS: "Mayor Beame has already asked for low interest loans from the Small Business Administration. Governor Carey is already considering loans for families on a short term basis. But the big money could come in the form of Federal Government Relief, money for roads and buildings, temporary housing, special unemployment benefits... that's all up to President Carter and no-one's asked him yet. Overtime crews and extra men from the sanitation department began to clean up the streets at six this morning, but the biggest messes are inside the stores. Storekeepers can't begin their clean up until insurance adjusters take a look. What's the general feeling of the merchants around here? Do you think most are going to go back?"
SHOPKEEPER: "Well, they won't all come back because they haven't got the money to come back and they're afraid to come back because it could happen again."
WILLIAM: "Other merchants spent the morning on the phone trying to get disaster information, but the special number set up by the city was constantly busy. For shopkeepers in Bedford Stuyvesant the clean up is not such a problem. Looters burned as they went, they didn't just steal they destroyed and word is out on Broadway that building owners aren't going to re-build. As one grocery store owner told me; 'Now Broadway is just another street, shot and destroyed, that will be left to decay."
REPORTER: MARY ALICE WILLIAMS
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: United States President Jimmy Carter has ordered the Federal Power Commission to find out why New York was plunged into darkness after a thunderstorm on Wednesday night (13 July). For some people the blackout lasted 24 hours, during which time police made about 3,500 arrests. More than 500 police were injured coping with an orgy of looting and arson which occurred mainly in the poorer sections of the city. Amid what some reports described as near anarchy, New York Mayor Abraham Beame tried to play down the reports of crime, saying they were grossly exaggerated. For this he came under heavy criticism from police and firemen. On Friday (15 July) Mayor Beame toured the city for a first hand look at the destruction. This report from NBC's Mary Alice Williams.