0
$\begingroup$

One day every light in New York goes out and everything goes dark. 5 minutes later the lights come back on. New York is now located at its usual place but 1900 years into the past. (just so people don't immediatly go looking for jesus). By city of New York I mean the city plus the suburbs.
Power is still on, because a nuclear power plant is still around and can produce enough power to feed the city for another 10 years. Lets assume food lasts for another 10. Any indian unfortunately to be in close proximity to the city has been blipped out of existance.
What happens now? Is there immediate civil unrest and the city falls within its first 10 years? Will it be able to supply enough food to feed the populance? Will it conquer the indian tribes and manifest some more destiny? Will they reach europe and bring the world into the future much faster?

$\endgroup$
15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Folks start dying from water-borne disease, since you have severed the water supply. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Oct 15 '19 at 17:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the better question is, what do the first settlers do when they encounter the ruins of new york? $\endgroup$ – Trevor Oct 15 '19 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ @user535733 dammit I knew I forgot something Trevor I mean at least some people will have to be left no matter what. Unless the Indians somehow manage to whipe out a people armed with modern firearms $\endgroup$ – user2741831 Oct 15 '19 at 17:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @user2741831 Firearms? Heard of the Sullivan law? Very few firearms in NYC other than police issue. And how do you figure the food will last ten years? Most cities are three days from food riots if shipments are cut off. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Oct 15 '19 at 17:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "lights come back on" - not likely, because there will be major power grid failure. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Oct 15 '19 at 19:31
4
$\begingroup$

First of all, New York does not have 10 years worth of food. Most cities only have enough food at any given time for about 2-4 weeks tops. They rely on a constant stream of supplies coming in from rural areas to feed them, but if you are just taking the city and suburbs, that means you have no food production, and very little surplus.

You also will not have enough petrol for cars and ships to work for very long either.

As far as major cities goes, New York is one of the worst to bring back in time because so much of its economy is based on skills that only help you in the info age or with a constant stream of inbound raw resources (https://www.saravalindustries.com/top-industries-in-new-york-city/); so, most of the people there would not have any skills suited for surviving in the new environment.

For people to survive on the short term, there will be a 2 general tactics that will work:

A) Try to form gangs that will wipe out near-by native american settlements and seize their farmlands. These places will be hard to hold, but offer instant and sustainable food sources.

B) Disperse far enough so that there are few enough people per square mile that they can survive off of hunting and gathering, at least until they can establish their own crops.

Within the first year, most of the population of New York will be dead from starvation and war, but "most" is a relative term. Even if 9/10 people die, you still have a population big enough to be considered a great nation by the standards of the time, and you will have out of necessity seized a large enough territory to accomodate a large population once you are able to return to more modern agricultural practices. The survivors after that big of a culling also tend to have strong genetic advantages since only the strongest, healthiest, and cleverest are going to still be around. Within a few more years, the survivors will have built all the food production and shelter they need. They will begin pioneering industrial techniques over a 1000 years ahead of schedule. Skilled workers will begin moving back into the city where good housing is cheap. In summation, things will be really awful at first, but after they recover, they will likely go on to become a superpower.

$\endgroup$
4
  • $\begingroup$ Finally, some optimism! $\endgroup$ – user2741831 Oct 15 '19 at 19:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ me: "almost everyone dies, and they kill a bunch of people", user2741831: "optimism!", LOL $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Oct 15 '19 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ Have you read the others? Yours pretty much the American Dream theirs is medival fallout $\endgroup$ – user2741831 Oct 15 '19 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ Oh but killing natives is bad obviously but smallpox would do that anyway $\endgroup$ – user2741831 Oct 15 '19 at 19:24
11
$\begingroup$

There will be immediate civil unrest for sure. What happens after that probably depends on how it resolves. The city might split into different areas that war with each other, or the NYPD might take over the whole thing and proclaim a military dictatorship. Who knows?

In any event, 95% of the city is likely to be dead in 6 months. There's no way any ancient-era patch of land can support a population of 8+ million in an area that small. The entire food supply system that fed NYC is now gone. You'll probably end up with a wasteland full of cannibals.

$\endgroup$
7
  • $\begingroup$ even if they magically had food and energy supplies that last 10 years? I honestly don't think the average NY suburbanite doesn't have it in him to turn into a bloodthirsty cannibal in that short ammount of time $\endgroup$ – user2741831 Oct 15 '19 at 17:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Agreeing with this answer. @user2741831 Just like in a hurricane, people start looting and destroying their remaining supplies. You don't even need magic. Grocery stories already have enough food to last months, warehouses have even more. It won't matter. $\endgroup$ – Trevor Oct 15 '19 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ With magic food, you can delay the inevitable for a while. But 10 years is not a lot of time to learn how to set up an agriculture system (that's 10 planting seasons). And there's basically no chance of getting it to support 8 million people in time. People are going to be killing each other to stockpile supplies as soon as they arrive. $\endgroup$ – Priska Oct 15 '19 at 17:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Not a chance of 're-stabilizing' the city. You don't have the infrastructure to feed the people in this era - not even close. And there is no way to maintain the technology. What I suspect would happen is that conditions would deteriorate rapidly, and there would eventually be an exodus of people to various parts of the country, leaving New York a ruin. There's just no way you will be able to keep 8 million people healthy and fed in a confined area with ancient technology. All machinery will eventually break down. $\endgroup$ – Dan Hanson Oct 15 '19 at 17:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @user2741831 The "Average NY Suburbanite" is dead. Those who ARE capable of turning into a bloodthirsty cannibal are among those who have a chance of surviving. Honestly, your most likely survivors are those who armed up and left the city within the first 24 hours. $\endgroup$ – Arkenstein XII Oct 15 '19 at 20:26
7
$\begingroup$

1) Food won't last. There are millions of people in the city and it is supplied by just-in-time supply chains. People will go hungry and riot.

2) Water borne diseases will kill them. No water treatment plant in the city itself.

3) When things break, they will stay broken because New York lacks the factories and workshops to fabricate things like chips and electric gear. And they won't be able to jury-rig because NYC is a services city, not an industrial city. If the transplanted city was, say, Guangzhou or Detroit in the fifties, they could improvise something.

4) Chickenpox and flu wipe the natives that could help the citzens.

5) Without spare parts and technicians(they died from hunger, riots and diarrhea) the nuclear plant will meltdown and wreck the region.

6) As the order breaks down the ships will try to leave. Maybe some will go to Europe while others to South America. Wherever they go, they will bring modern diseases with them. If a ship lands on, say, Rome, the roman empire will be devastated by a flu plague. As the centuries pass the ship will be source of excelent steel, coveted by the warriors, being scrapped to forge armors and swords.

I suppose 10k new yorkers are alive by the end of the fifth year after the time travel, quickly reverting to native american way of life to survive and abandoning the soon to be ruins. The books will be left to rot, the machinery will rust and, when the europeans arrive there by the 16th century they will find cyclopean ruins full of deadly traps (the radioative isotopes from the meltdown), bones and some strange artifacts.

The only things that will survive are those that are stockpiled in vaults, like gold bars, artworks and documents.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Agree with everything except the nuke. I'm pretty sure they would shut it down when nobody can runit anymor e $\endgroup$ – user2741831 Oct 15 '19 at 18:18
2
$\begingroup$

The world will break into chaos and anarchy

Thousands of people will have lost loved ones. Nobody will be happy about this. This will cause large-scale conflicts, which thieves, murderers, and other criminals will take advantage of. The police will have a very difficult time taking control of the situation, and they will inevitably fail because just like everybody else, the police are freaking out about what has happened.

Any Native American tribes that fight will be completely wiped out, and we'll simply repeat the atrocities we've already been known for. Happy Columbus day!

$\endgroup$
7
  • $\begingroup$ Food is in the next paragraph. And I'm pretty sure you need some electricity to make modern food. Do you think that modernity is the only thing keeping peoples bloodlust in check? Because I think at least some people in a city as diverse as NYC would be opposed to conquest against the natives $\endgroup$ – user2741831 Oct 15 '19 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, I have edited the answer $\endgroup$ – overlord Oct 15 '19 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ I think that even the people opposed would rather fight natives than fight among themselves. $\endgroup$ – overlord Oct 15 '19 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ the entire world will break into chaos? Does that mean that some Yorker will reach Europe and cause havoc there? $\endgroup$ – user2741831 Oct 15 '19 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ @user2741831 Yes. I think that people from that time period will see the technology and either fight them (New Yorkers) or worship them. But in both cases conflict is likely to arise. $\endgroup$ – overlord Oct 15 '19 at 17:24

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.