Some were surprised by what they found, including writer Briallen Hopper, who had been trapped on a subway train for an hour.
"I guess this is what they call a New York moment," she wrote on Twitter with a video of a choir singing at sunset.
"I emerged to see dark restaurants & traffic lights, civilians directing traffic, & an evacuated Carnegie Hall concert happening in the street."
I guess this is what they call a New York moment. After being trapped on the F for an hour because of the power outage I emerged to see dark restaurants & traffic lights, civilians directing traffic, & an evacuated Carnegie Hall concert happening in the street. #nyc#Blackoutpic.twitter.com/3p9UWtRrel
Another Twitter user, Caryn Ross, agreed, posting a video of the street concert by the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras with the hashtag #BeautifulSoundsDuringBlackout: "Now this is what turning lemons into lemonade is about!" she wrote.
At Madison Square Garden, the blackout put a sudden stop to a Jennifer Lopez concert, plunging the arena into darkness.
"I am obviously heartbroken and devastated," Bronx native Lopez said in a video clip she sent in a Twitter post for her fans. "I love you. I am so sorry this happened in the middle of our moment, at our show"
By midnight, power had been restored to most of the customers who had lost it. Shouts of celebration could be heard in parts of Manhattan as power was restored, bringing lights and air conditioners back to life.
When a massive blackout plunged much of Manhattan into darkness on Saturday evening, a choir and the casts of Broadway musicals entertained tourists with impromptu performances in the street.