Posts on Twitter showed an eerie blue glow over large portions of the area and sustained flashing lights.
A post from New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson showed a surreal video of a major portion of the sky illuminated with a blue light that appeared from a science fiction movie.
"Hearing reports of ConEd explosion in Queens that lit up NYC skies a few minutes ago. Will provide more information here as it becomes available," Johnson posted.
A surge at a substation caused the blue light, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Power surged in at least some areas of the borough.
Firefighters at the scene reported that the incident was related to arcing at the Astoria East Substation, based on scanner traffic, and that further fire response wasn't required.
Police did, however, say over Twitter they were investigating the transformer explosion and asked people to avoid the area.
Later in the evening, police determined the transformer explosion was a "non-suspicious equipment malfunction," according to a post on Twitter by New York City Police Department 114th Precinct Deputy Inspector Osvaldo Nunez.
Some flights at LaGuardia airport were affected from the outage.
This story has been updated.