5.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles New York City, East Coast

Damage Minimal But Plenty Of Frayed Nerves All Over The Tri-State Area

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York shook, rattled and rolled Tuesday afternoon following a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck in Virginia and rolled its way across the Northeast, hitting Washington, D.C. and moving all up the East Coast as far as Boston.

Related: Photos Of Quake Aftermath | Web Explodes After Quake

The United States Geological Survey, which tracks and records quakes, said the quake struck about a half mile beneath the surface. (Click here to see the USGS report). The temblor’s epicenter was about 86 miles outside of Washington, D.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated.

Tuesday night around 8:04 p.m., the USGS reported that a magnitude 4.2 aftershock occurred about 34 miles northwest of Richmond, Va.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell With People In Midtown

While seismologists say there is no way to predict them, the possibility exists for potential aftershocks. The last time New York City was hit by a quake of similar power was more than 100 years ago.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a news conference around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday and said there was no major damage, injuries or disruption to utilities.  He did say that officials had conducted “visual inspections” of bridges and other river crossings.

Bloomberg made mention of “two reports of minor damage” in Brooklyn, including a chimney collapse in which he said no one was injured.  The mayor also advised individuals to inspect their surroundings.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks Reports From City Hall

“Property owners should do their due diligence and visually inspect buildings,” Bloomberg said.

After being asked by a reporter about where he was, Bloomberg said he was sitting at his desk when the “vibrations kept getting bigger” and “got substantial.”

Bloomberg said the earthquake made for a “stressful afternoon” and that New York was “lucky to avoid any major harm.”


Beverly Camhe, who survived the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake in California in 1994, said this one was nothing.

“I was sitting on my couch and I felt this very strange vibration. If I had been in California, I would’ve gotten right under the table,” she told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

Speaking from Columbus Circle, actor Anthony Laurent said he “didn’t know what was going on. We’re in New York, so we’re not used to feeling earthquakes…you hear about them, but you never feel them. So to be in the middle of one is definitely strange,” he told Dennis.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Shuck Reports From Lower Manhattan

“I felt my car was rocking like a bull,” Joseph Bon Giova of Flushing told 1010 WINS. “I figured it was an earthquake because I was in the one in 1983.”

The Earth Moves For One Newlywed Couple. 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa Reports.

“I was in my office working on my computer and the floor started swaying as if you were on a boat and I didn’t really know what was going on,” a man who identified himself as “Tony” said. “I came out of my office and everybody else felt the same way. Once I saw that we all headed out.”

The quake struck just as Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. was beginning a news conference on the dismissal of charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Around the corner from the DA’s office in lower Manhattan, hundreds of people flooded out the doors of the 26-story federal courthouse building.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck said he saw hundreds of people had come out of their office buildings in lower Manhattan with stunned looks on their faces. Some people were concerned that there had been some sort of an attack. However, those concerns were unfounded.

Limited Impact On Transportation Systems In Tri-State Area 

The Long Island Rail Road issued a statement saying its service was unaffected and running on or close to schedule. New Jersey Transit issued no alerts. The MTA said New York City subways were running normally.

Amtrak service along the Northeast Corridor between Baltimore and Washington was operating at reduced speeds.

Earlier, Newark Liberty, John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports had evacuated control towers and delayed flights to allow inspectors to visually check runways for damage. Flights have since resumed.

The Holland Tunnel was temporarily shut down as crews inspected for structural damage.  All bridges and tunnels were back to normal.

NJ Transit Worker In Kearny: “Whole Building Was Shaking”

New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management said it was monitoring the effects of the earthquake across the state.  Officials said that there were few reports of damage to any infrastructure.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney: They Felt It In Morristown

In Hoboken, residents had different reactions to the commotion and the anxiety.

“I just felt like a shake — like a 10-second shake — and just kind of got nervous, that’s all. And then I heard all the chaos,” John Smith told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

Others like Maddy Siedlick wondered out loud what all the fuss was about.

“Whatever, we’re all here. It’s fine, not a big deal,” Siedlick said.

John Montone of 1010 WINS spoke with a NJ Transit worker who was in Kearny at the time of the quake.

“The whole building started shaking…at first we thought it was a train passing by, but it was too heavy,” he said. “Everybody looked up, the whole building was shaking, all the cars were shaking.  It was pretty bad.”

Impact Also Felt On Long Island

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said “We were prepared for such instances as this,” adding there were no significant damage reports. Mangano said buildings in the area were being assessed.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall: They Felt It From Huntington To Hauppauge

“I was at home and my bed started swaying back and forth as I looked outside to see if anybody else was reacting to it. It looked like life was going on as normal, but my house was shaking,” Jonathan Madera told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

“I’m from California. I’ve been through 8.0’s so, you know, I didn’t feel this one,” Ryan Tachierasot said.

The Suffolk County Police Department asked residents to remain calm as local officials assessed the impact of the quake.

Officials in Westchester also opened their emergency operations center, but there were no reports of significant damage.

A New York City earthquake? Did you feel it? What do you make of it? Sound off in our comments section.

  • Brian

    I felt my chair shaking, sitting at my desk on the 9th Floor of my office in midtown Manhattan. Went out of my office and saw the hanging lights shaking and others around me coming out of their offices too. Everyone stayed very clam.

    • joe

      Our 5 floor walk up building swayed on Carnegie Hill, chairs were also swaying inside the apt….

    • JJ

      ahh that was not an Earthquake. That was just Kim Kardashian’s ass moving to Jersey.

  • Maribel Quinones

    I felt it and im from newark nj

    • Della

      I felt it in Elizabeth, NJ

      • Deanna YZar

        I felt in forest hills, queens. My dog were barking before the earthquake. Since I have been in experience of biggest earthquake. We mostly depend on animal sense so I noticed that my dog barked strangely. I started to near my 2 yr old son. Immediately, my chair was motionly shaking then tv were shaking. Started to prepare to go out and grab my son. It stop for 2 min, as the earthquake pause.as I expected to have second one to get harder, the windows started to shakedown. I decided to took my son out. Please drink some water to calm the

      • Jane Louise Smith

        I felt it in Medford.

  • Bianca Boss

    Oh my god! I was pouring cupcake batter and my mom goes “Hey do you feel shaking?” We automatically look at the oven thinking its about to burst.
    I live in washington heights in manhatten. My sister’s desktop was swaying back and forth and my grandma got dizzy, What a scare!

  • Bernie Sanders

    I was on my computer here in staten island and the house shook very lightly but i heard the house cracking a bit it was a bit scarey ~

  • emmy

    I was sitting in my office in my cubicle and felt it shake once then again. My body moved right to left and I thought my coworker was moving something in the office. When I saw everyone come out of their offices’ and walk out the front door I just got up and followed them out. I heard it was 5.9 in Viriginia and it was the after shocks that we felt in Parsippany, NJ.

  • Bob

    Toms River NJ – felt it here too – house shook west to east twice, chandeliers & ceiling fans waving back & forth – my dog continued her nap uninterrupted

  • Rich Steeves

    Whole house was shaking in Scarsdale, NY – was on the phone with colleagues from California who just laughed and said I was dreaming. Windows rattled and the dog was barking.

  • michie

    I live in Forest Hills, Queens and my wall unit started shaking, crystal rattling, plants swinging, and i was getting very dizzy.
    Was in the Northridge quake in 1994 and it was very frightening

  • Dean

    I was outside on 14th Street when it happened and not a single person on the street even noticed. I got a text from a friend which is the only way I even knew.

    My parents are on a plane at JFK right now waiting to take off and they say that the whole airport has been grounded.

    • Jane Louise Smith

      JFK grounded? That’s NO WAY to treat an American President.

      • keith wren

        Wonder if it is about that Marilyn Monroe thing??

      • keith wren

        Must be because of that Marilyn Monroe thing!



  • Mary Ann

    Was sitting on the couch in bayridge brooklyn and the couch started to move to the left side of the living room , then I have chimes on the inside of a door and hte door opned and the chimes rang it was like a spooky horror movie or something

    • Sam

      hi Mary ann… i felt it on 80th street. shook everything in the house

  • Adriana

    Felt it in Farmingdale. Shook for a good few seconds and we all got dizzy here.

  • Adriana

    Felt it in Farmingdale, N, shook for a good while and made us all dizzy here.

  • Terry

    I work in Melville (Long Island) and we all felt it here.

  • Mike

    Felt in Farmingdale NY

  • Steve Marsh

    Spoke to relatives in Virginia who were a little shaken up- no pun intended. I work at Stony Brook University on Long Island and it shook all the buildings significantly. I compared it to the aftershocks I felt after the Northridge earthquake that I lived through in California in the 90s.

  • D.Gahn

    I work in Con Ed and we felt it here to, the whole flor shook, kind of crazy.

  • BOOm

    Brooklyn NY bad I my whole desk shook

  • Rob

    Our building in Flushing shook violently.

  • Samantha

    Felt it in Queens NY, was eating on my couch, when the whole house started to shake, I knew right away this wasn’t normal, so i look outside and saw, all the vehicles on the street was moving back and forth..WOW scary experience..


    Oh my gosh,,, co workers and I were sitting at our desks i Lincoln Park, Nj when we felt it. We saw the school buses swaying and keys going back and forth. It made me feel a little uneasy. It was weird

  • Marie Guadagno Caputo

    felt it in medford, l.i. it shook for about 3 seconds.

    • Rose

      Sitting in my car in traffic on Glen Cove Rd , and Old Country Rd, Carle Place and my car started to vibrate, it lasted about a minute! Thank God that was all!

  • Leah

    i wasnt ready for an earthquake of 5.9 to happen because that is not normal in our area. that was something that occured out of no where

  • nyc

    Felt in Red Hook ,New York !

  • Susan

    I work in Franklin Lakes, NJ and a co-worker in North Carolina also felt it.

  • ALW

    Felt two shakes here in lower Westchester County, NY. First at 1:55pm EST. Slight shake. Second a few seconds later more significant. My whole house began to shake & chandeliers were swaying. My dog knew about a few seconds before the first hit. He jumped up from his sleep quite alarmed. I could identify it as an earthquake because of how long the shaking took place- more sustained than a truck on the street passing by.

    • Jane Louise Smith

      Your dog is astute. Feed him an extra Scooby Snack for me please.

  • AL

    Definitely felt it all the way in Toronto, Canada!

  • Nick

    Felt it in danbury conecticut

  • Yvonia Peters

    I live in Maplewood NJ and I felt the house shaking and when I looked up I saw the fan and chandeliers moving….I was feeding my newborn and I got scared, and immediately got up and tried to get cover but unfortunately I had no cover…I am from Jamaica and has experienced earthquake before but I was still scared…

  • Deanna Gates

    Felt it in lower Manhattan, John & William, 17th floor

  • Alicia

    I am in Forest Hills and it was horrible! The building was shaking for a good 6-10 seconds – as I grabbed my wallet and keys and entered the hallway, it stopped. Gosh what a horrible feeling.

  • Velma

    I live in Rockland county and felt it in my living …my things in my china cabinet shock and my seat shock as I was reading today paper

  • Alexis Waters

    Felt the windows and the dresser shake, I’m in Stamford, CT

  • Marie

    I live in Carteret, NJ, .. as I was watching television the couch shook, I
    thought I was going crazy.

  • Maryalyce Perrault

    I felt it in the Adirondacks, in Upstate NY, specifically in Star Lake, NY. My chair was moving and the blinds moved and the wind chimes on my sunporch started tingling…….I asked my husband….”Are we getting an earthquake?” And then Ch. 2 news broke into programming and told us what was happening. But wanted you to know it wasn’t ony along the east coast………it came way inland and way up into Upstate!!!

  • Alice Davidson

    I felt it at my computer desk. At 1st I looked around for my cat. Thought she had jumped on my desk!

    I’m in Newburgh NY

  • Martha R

    I work in Parsippany, NJ and I felt it. I didn’t wait for anyone to tell me to evacuate….I just left and took my co-workers with me.

  • nancy


  • Michelle

    i felt the earthquake. I live in ny, ny. i was sitting in the couch, and then i felt the apartment moving. The mirror was shaking too.

  • Carmen Solis

    i felt it in Kearny, NJ…slight tremor, thought it was a truck driving down our street, sometimes when they hit a pothole it feels shaky in the living room.

  • m.way

    i live in Newburgh,Ny and we felt our house shake.

  • Shaken not Stirred

    SW Nassau County. House wobbled like jello for a few seconds.

  • Steven neumann

    I am In hendersonville NC and we felt it to a medium degree,

    • Steve

      We felt it in Asheville, NC – seems only people on second stories or higher felt it here. Everyone I talked with on the ground level missed the action.

  • Natalie

    I live in the Upper West Side in Manhattan and felt the earthquake for about 10-15 seconds.

  • Lia Chagaris

    Felt tremor in Mahwah, NJ about 1:50pm. Husband in Montvale office had swinging and swaying.. Daughter at Penn State , University Park campus evacuated classroom due to quake. Haven’t heard from son in Philly yet.

  • Mark

    Felt it in Warren, NJ

  • Dil 9 NYC

    Midtown West shook for 10 sec. if not more 1:50pm to be exact

  • Aquailita

    oh my gosh… im a little woried because i live between the ocean and the bay…. im worried about a tsunami or something…. <:(

  • Paul Butler

    In the East Bronx, New Hutch metro buiding,on the 7th floor…it shook like Jello on a plate for 15-20 seconds.

  • nadine

    i live in Catskill NY and i felt the earthquake here.

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