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.

  • Steve

    Felt in southern Maine

  • Fatima Foust

    Yeah I live in north carolina and we felt a slight trimmre. The windows and doors at my job were shaking.

  • Ron Partain

    NY is 300 miles from the epicenter and the airports closed?!? LOL …I thought you guys were tougher on the east coast.

  • Paul

    The epicenter is said to be Mineral, VA. There are two nuclear power plants there at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station. Has anyone picked up on that yet?

    • Jane Louise Smith

      I picked up on that, Paul. I’m telling you that we will need to establish an 8/23 Victims’ Fund. Are you with me?

  • bb

    long island felt it

  • Andrew Goldberg

    I experienced an earthquake last summer in Montreal last summer. Only about a 2.2 or so but close to the city

    Andrew from Brooklyn

  • Aquailita

    i was in Far Rockaway in Queens and i was watching Family Feud….

  • Stephanie

    Working in Queens NY felt my chair shake for about 15 seconds and the computer monitor, a 20″ flat panel screen was shaking. They are doing work on the roof upstairs so I was sure it was because of that until my daughter called.

  • truth

    im in texas and I felt it here. Just kidding.
    It is just the gov blowing out a new tunnel and underground living area for the elite.
    Nothing to see here, move a long these arent the droids you are lookinh for.

  • bob

    was sitting at my computer and the table started to sway ,was really weird i thought i was getting dizzy and when i got up i almost fell over

  • Cipriana Costello

    I’m in Kingston, NY. My stepfather and I were in our kitchen and the rollingpins that were hanging from our shelves were bouncing off the wall and we looked around outside and there was nothing on the other side of the wall. We just stood there trying to figure out what going on. Then I looked at my phone and the chat room I had been talking in was full with “DID YOU FEEL THAT?” It was weird!

  • Gyrogeerloose

    Out here in California, a 5.9 earthquake would make people around here pause for a moment, shrug, say “hey, good one,” then go back to whatever it was they were doing at the time.

    • Jet in Los Angeles

      because we grew up with em…remember the duck and cover for quakes back in gradeschool


    Bayside, NY.
    We felt it twice in our office building. We did not know what it was we thought the building was going to come down.

    • Jane Louise Smith

      Twice? It was only *one* earthquake. How does one feel *one* earthquake *twice*?

      • Jane Louise Smith

        I’m sorry, but I am not a geologist. It was a honest question. You need to brush up on your politeness.

      • Aquailita

        maybe the building shook once , stopped, then a few seconds later starts again. it could happen during one eath quake

      • Elena

        Jane, you need to read up on topics before you write. You sound like an idiot.

  • Jane Louise Smith


    • Schmellma Arss

      You go girl!

    • blahblahblah

      Yes! let’s call it Jane Louise’s Fund, oh…and we need a sleazy politician to back it!

  • lawton

    i felt it here in jersey by the beach! my dogs went nuts right before it happened! my brother in myrtle beach, south carolina felt it too!

    • Jane Louise Smith

      My sister in Honolulu felt it, too.

  • LouAnn Cavallo

    My entire house shook here in Mendham NJ. It felt like it lasted 10-15 secs. It was long! I thought the house was going to have structural damage.

  • Schmellma Arsss

    We get more vibrations when a truck goes by. Come on people, it was not that bad. everything is such high drama these days. And we are all going to die someday, so get over it already. BOOGIE, BOOGIE, BOOGIE!!!!!!!!!!

    • Aquailita

      yeah, but a truck goes by and its anoying .

      an earthquake happens and its panic cuz you can control a truck but not the earth herself

  • IgnoranteElephante

    Me too.

  • Fay

    two books even fell straight off my bookshelf!!!!!!! I was terrified!

    • Jane Louise Smith

      Fay, I’m helping to establish an 8/23 Victims’ Fund for the New York City-area survivors of this horrific act of nature. If you sustained any wounds, please let us know so that we can support you and your family through this tumultuous time in your life.

  • Kathie

    I live in Johnstown pa and felt my house shake and saw the walls move. Very scary. Never thought of a earthquake in this part of our country.thought some downed a tree near by but nit the case.

  • joanne paoness

    my daughter, who works in cincinnnati, ohio, called to tell me she felt her building shake.


    WHO FARTED????

    • funny

      oh my God, you made my day, way too funny.

  • vk

    i live in richmond hill i was shocked my head was spinning i came out and saw people out from stores…it was earthquake…felt for 15 sec….thank god everyone is fine

  • Rojin Mathew

    I live in East Meadow, Long Island, New York. My house was shaking, the chandelier in my room was swinging, I thought some trucks hit my building, I went outside, nothing seen. Immediately my Dad who works in Richmond Hills, New York called and informed me it is everywhere in New York. I think it is first time in New York for the past 10 years.

  • IgnoranteElephante

    Me too!

  • mel

    Felt it on 23rd Street in New York City

  • Frank

    Good God…….I lost one of my balls……..totally stunned!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sherri Garney

    I was walking my dog outside, when it felt like I was dizzy or on a board in the water……Just before that, my dog was acting nutsy and pawing at the ground. We are in Southport, CT.

  • Ben

    Was building a city out of decks of cards for over 5yrs now – an utter masterpiece taking up most of my warehouse space…. all came crumbling down. :( I need a drink badly. Glen Cove

  • Claudette James

    I was sitting at my computer in my bedroom when I felt the tremor which lasted about 30 seconds. I live in Highland Mills, NY (Mid Hudson Valley) about 55 miles north of NYC.



  • diane

    Diane live in Holtsvill, Long Island out in Suffolk on the East end and we felt it. The beds were shaking and vibratibg and the walls moved. We felt dizzy. Crazy feeling.

  • Harini

    Yep I felt it here in NC, it was mild and initially thought It was my imagination and was jus feeling dizzy, realised it was a quake when I switched on the news……..

  • Ester

    I live in Elizabeth, New Jersey and it was around 1:50 when my family and I felt the earthquake.The earthquake was very surprising and lasted about 30 seconds.What surprised me more was that my friend lives several blocks away and didnt feel the shake at all.

  • Danielle

    First my chair shook, then I looked to see if there was a large truck pulling up outside our office in East Rutherford, NJ. Just then my desk began to waver to and fro and I screamed “everybody out” … our whole building evacuated and by the time we all got out the ground was still swaying for another half minute or so.

  • Carleisha Forteau

    I live in Secaucus NJ on the 2nd floor of my building and it started shaking. That was WILD!!!

  • tj

    Felt it in Melville. Still a little dizzy feeling

  • Hannah

    I felt in Carmel,NY.

  • Unuora

    I felt in it northern New Jersey. It was really nothing more than slight shaking on the floor. I wasn’t sure what it was, I thought I was just hallucinating or something. It was kinda like a large truck passed by or someone jumped was jumping up and down. It was hardly anything. I wish best of luck to those were more in range to the earthquake. I hope everything is ok.

  • Amanda F

    Felt it in Buddy Lake NJ. Scared me and the dog but my 4 year old slept right through it. Hope it doesn’t happen again

  • Theresa Homerski

    We felt it in Northern Cambria PA (about 2 hours east of Pittsburgh). Our whole house shook.

  • Mary Nucci

    yes, we felt it here at rutgers in new brunswick. certainly gave everyone something to talk about!

  • brando

    Now people know how it feels to live in California lol

  • Drew Curtis

    This was just the effects of Christie jumping into the presidential race.

  • Jerry

    I’m working in midtown NY; didn’t feel a thing. I guess this old building is really well built!

  • Rachel Tolin

    I’m in East Hills, NY. I work at an online clothing retailer, the clothes on the racks began swaying and the computer screens were shaking. We all looked around wondering if it could be the construction below us, as I walked downstairs I realized there was no one working there! I checked my phone and could not make any calls! It shook us definitely!

  • Briana

    Felt it in lake Carmel New York! Felt like my car was rocking.

    • Snarkman

      In that case, I won’t bother knocking.

      • LMAO


    • Jane Louise Smith

      What type of music were you listening to at the time of the earthquake?

      • Briana

        Well, if you must know, I was enjoying some Yellowman!

  • John

    Felt it in Queens, NY. Wasn’t so bad.

    • tommy

      I live in a more than 200 yr old house in Rosebank and my house shook, like a wave hit the side . All of our chimes swung the bird cage moved on its wheel, and the birds freaked , staying puffed up for an hour or so. I thought it was just last night tequila saying Hi, until I noticed all the movement and ran to the front door to see if maybe a truck hit the house. Odd as hell feeling, i’ll say that.

  • Mary

    I live in Los Angeles, (but checking on my sister in Annapolis) Welcome to our world!

    • nyclady

      I grew up in a high risk area for earthquakes (earthquakes on the scale of 5-7 were pretty common), but I’ve been in NY for the past 20 years and never felt something like this. It was very strong and a lot of things go through your head, esp since we have been targets of terrorism.

  • Emily

    I felt it, Northport, NY
    I’ve never felt it and I was home alon freaking out worrying my house was going to collapse. I learned about it in Earth science because I’m ACC in Science, and I didn’t fathom feeling one!

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