American Go E-Journal

New York City, 1977: black and white in the dark

Thursday July 13, 2017

by Terry Benson2017.07.13_nyc-blackout

Forty years ago today, I was staring down intently at my go board on the second floor of the Zen Oriental Book Store in midtown Manhattan when all the lights snapped off. “The breaker blew,” said a player, intent on his own game.  I looked up from my game, over the board, past my opponent and out the windowed front onto a completely darkened West 57th street. It was the 1977 New York blackout.

Of course, being go players, we kept playing.   Our wonderful waitress/hostess Kazuko calmly brought out candles. The tea was still warm. There were little Japanese cakes and games to play.

Eventually, though, we all headed out into the city. Riding my bike past the rioting and looting on Broadway was surreal, like simultaneously watching and being in a movie. We all made it home safely that night and to this day we remember holding off the world’s chaos  – for a little while anyway – with go.

Categories: U.S./North America