Blackout shuts down Hyde Park businesses

A sign in the window at Starbucks, 1530 E. 53rd St., reads “Power outage! We’re closed. Sorry”.                                                                                                                                                                               – Spencer Bibbs

By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

An unexpected blackout took place affecting businesses on 53rd Street, Harper Avenue (Harper Court), 47th Street and Lake Park Avenue.

The power outage started in Harper Court around 5:48 p.m., affecting local businesses such as the Hyatt Regency Hyde Park, Connect Art Gallery, Native Foods, Ja’Grill, University of Chicago Harper Court, Chipotle, Roti, Sir and Madame, Starbucks, LA Fitness and ULTA. The businesses were all forced to close their doors before 7 p.m. due to the blackout.

Robert McKay, owner and director of Connect Art Gallery Hyde Park, said that at about 5:48 p.m. all of the lights went out in Harper Court.

McKay said that after cleaning his art gallery he left, on break, to purchase a beverage from the Native Foods Cafe, but as soon as he reached out his hand to open the door, he noticed the lights were out for all businesses in Harper Court.

A sign in the window at Roti Modern Mediterranean, 526 E. 53rd St., reads “Temporarily closed due to power outage”.  – Spencer Bibbs

As people waited in lines for answers at restaurants such as Chipotle, Roti and Native Foods, residents were stuck on elevators at the City Hyde Park Building on 51st Street.

“I live on top of Whole Foods,” said Fred Freeman, Hyde Park resident and tenant at the City Hyde Park Building. “I heard people screaming from the elevators, that’s what woke me up.”

Freeman said that his building was shut down for a certain amount of time during the blackout and that the only business that had power in the area was Mc Donalds on 52nd Street.

Due to the blackout, businesses such as Whole Foods, Marshalls, and Michaels who all operate out of the City Hyde Park Building were force to close their doors early.

Other reported businesses that would experience blackouts from 47th to 53rd street were Target, Red Snapper, Subway, Baskin Robbins, Insure One, Papa Johns and Blues Barber Shop.

As of 7:10 p.m. central standard time, the lights were restored to the area, but some owners felt they lost a lot of money.

According to Ciera Oliver, a spokesperson for Com Ed, last night’s power outage was caused by a “lock out, which is comparable to a fuse blowing in your circuit breaker at your home.”

Oliver said Com Ed is investigating the cause of the blackout, which affected over 4,000 customers on the south side.

j.phillips@hpherald.com