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.

  • Will

    Just heard about the quake so I went online to check the news and stumbled on this page. There are reports that this earthquake was felt in Abitibi which is located in northwestern Quebec, Canada. It was even felt up here in the Sudbury area enough to evacuate some builings.. Sudbury Star, August 23, 2011. http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3269526

  • George Peralta

    Lots of broken windshild glass on cars in south ozone park queens. On liberty under the train around 85st. I drive mr.softie ice cream truck all windows on the cars broke same time and same identical place in the middle from side to side

    • Kat Man Doo

      Flash Mob

  • Joey

    I felt it iin Bensonhurst

  • Eddie G

    Was horrible, my second floor house creaked, my stuff in the kitchen moved and my bed shaked 10 sec ,was scary, im from Puerto Rico and I never ieeling scare with a temblor, i hope this not repeat again in NYC,

  • joe

    someone tell maurice white plains is not the biggest city in westchester
    yonkers is

  • Mel Ahka

    That was just the mayor flushing his big toilet bowl.

  • Deanna YZar

    Normally, day time earthquake is alert for next one. In Asian, it happened day time for while then night time get worst. Be alert guys.

  • Marlene

    This was not the first one I felt does anyone remember the one 30 yrs ago? I was a senior in High School and I was walking home for lunch when that one hit about 12:15 pm we even had a page in our yearbook about “our” first earthquake. It was a little weird then as it it now. Ask John Elliot about that one.
    All I know is the earth moved on my birthday!!!

    • Sandra

      I remember one in N.J. about 26 years ago. The room shook. Grabbed my baby out of the bassenet. Scary.

    • Carol

      I was thing the same thing, that this wasnt our first

  • Jimmy Dem


  • Joshua Valencia

    I didn’t feel it, but my mom did??

  • Matt

    My building here on Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan shook pretty heavily. You could imagine what I thought being here in NYC, having been on the 101st floor in the WTC during the original bombing, and having my wife narrowly avert disaster when she and her company were there on 9/11. Maybe I’m back luck and just need to stay the heck away from NYC!

  • Terry

    I work from home and was on a conference call with my boss and we both felt it and started yelling ! Scary

    • Kat Man Doo

      You should have called in sick.

  • Archy Cary

    So how long before Obama blames Bush for the quake?

  • tom raffaele part 2

    anybody wanna bet when your next homeowners policy is due there will be a new charge for earthquake insurance?……………………but seriously who farted?

    • Eddie G

      u know what is switch????? i continued in SHOck

    • Archy Cary

      This is the work of the Tea Party, Maxine Waters will say.

  • A Minski

    Fanwood, NJ-In my dining room, it felt like the movie Tremors was happening under my feet. The plants were swaying back and forth. But my daughers were ten feet away in the kitchen and felt nothing.

  • Jessica Beland

    Felt it in Grand Central. I thought I was having vertigo. LMFAO. My daughter is in Astoria and didnt feel it. Stay safe everyone!

  • Sandra

    Passaic, New Jersey rumbled at about 1:56pm. I wasn’t sure at first but the towels in the bathroom were shaking. Made me nervous for my son in New York and in Union, NJ. Cell phone service was down for a while also!!!

  • hereandnow

    Felt building sway here in New Utrecht, neighbor felt it too. But no car alarms went off.

  • Sheila

    I am also worried about my dogs. I live at the New Jersey shore and felt it at work.

    • Jane Louise Smith

      I just checked, Sheila. Your dogs are all right. Your home, however, is a total loss.

  • Jane Louise Smith

    We’re all victims of Mother Nature. We need to establish an 8/23 Victims’ Fund BEFORE the nuclear plants in Virginia spread radiation up this way. Who will join with me?

  • Seismic Sam

    I was in the Lyndhurst Motor Inn on LI with the two hour special rate and thought for sure if it was my “friend”, Liz Bettaccino. Oh, well!

    • Archy Cary

      Hey, I thought she way my friend!

      • Kat Man Doo

        She’s everyone’s friend!

  • What A Big LetDown

    I felt it, but was extremely disappointed. The ride in Universal Studios Orlando was much more violent than this, and you guys are making such a big fuss over this? Even the ride in Universal Studios Orlando wasn’t so scary. I experience more jerkiness standing up on a subway or bus.

    • Jessica Beland

      If you have ever been in a large earthquake, you wouldnt be wishing this.

      • Jet in Los Angeles

        I have live in California San francisco 1989 and we had a 5.9 a couple of years ago…guess I am used to them lived all my life with quakes…

    • Seismic Sam

      That’s what Liz said!

  • Gary

    I felt it Old Tappan

  • Carol

    I live in nassau county. I get vertigo so I thought I was having an attack. I was standing at the bathroom mirror and had fo grab onto the sink, twice. I went to my car to get my medication when I heard the neighbors talking

    • Jessica Beland

      haha Me too! Im in Grand Central and was heating up my lunch and was was like whoa! I need to get my vertigo meds.

      • Carol


  • johnH

    Closing the Pentagon, Capital, air towers, etc, is like closing the barn door after the horse has run away. The quake is over. We will have to wait another 10 years for the next one.It is time to prepare for hurricane Irene

    I am with in 99 miles of the epicenter (Staunton, Va.) and felt the quake. Things shook but it was not unlike ones I felt in Roanoke as a youth. It did disturb the cat first and then the dog.

    I guess Al Fore will be blaming it on global warming since it has been hot this summer. LOL

  • JuanM

    Mid-town, 42nd floor, not a good feeling when the whole floor is shaking up & down for 15 seconds

    • Jessica Beland

      Agreed. Midtown 34th Floor. Grand Central. No bueno.

  • Deanna YZar

    Get some drink to hydrate.

  • SoCal

    Quit Crying …. Nice and Smooth in SoCal!!!!

  • Jane Louise Smith

    I’m writing this from the train — power’s out — train’s stuck — can’t get anywhere. Why did i take the subway today?

    • tnt

      you wanted to get mugged,rubbed on by a total stranger or you like the smell of week old pee?

    • Kat Man Doo

      Because you’re an idiot?

  • Natalie Davis

    Obama sets record: $4,247,000,000,000 debt in just 945 days…
    That was not an earthquake… it was our founding fathers rolling in their graves.

    • Carol

      Wow, I hear that!

    • Jane Louise Smith


  • Abir

    I was working with my cousin and he felt this shakeing and i stood still foe a little and then i started feeling this shakeing, everything began shaking for like 30 seconds. Then my cousin began saying, “Earthquake Earthquake!!!” I couldnt belive that was happening in NY!!!!

  • Stefanie Langone

    Felt it here in Orange County in Warwick. I was sitting on my couch and felt the couch move. It seemed like there was a lot of banging in the wall behind the couch. I thought it was the guy servicing our boiler who was in the basement at the time until my husband said that he felt the house shaking upstairs on the third floor. I was wondering “what the hell is this guy doing down there?” Kinda glad to hear that it was an earthquake and not this guy doing damage in my basement.

    • Kat Man Doo

      I don’t think the guy was servicing the boiler, if you get my drift! Was the banging accompanied by loud moaning and groaning? Did you hear bells ringing and fireworks, too?

  • raquel

    felt it in coram, ny my dog was goin insane and barking like crazy

  • Living in Buffalo

    Felt in Buffalo NY

  • Pike

    A friend sent a text saying they felt it in North West Arkansas.

  • Mohini syed

    Felt in New Hyde Park

  • dexter

    nope, just your mama

    • IgnoranteElephante

      You’re mother. Color!

  • H Fraser

    Slight rocking here in Danbury, CT. Lasted maybe 30 seconds. I was wondering if it was from the cheap scotch consumed last night!

  • BC

    Was it Vertigo or did the Earth move? And I didn’t catch her name. All is well in C’port, LI

  • Mac Arthur Walker

    I was in my home on Staten Island and the house began to shake violently. I immediately knew what it was, because the house was shaking as though it were made of playing cards. I was so terrified, thinking earthquake, Tsunami next, but thank God it wasn’t that extreme. It was a very scary feeling. If we only felt shocks I can’t imagine what those closer the epicenter felt.

  • Patty

    Felt it in NYC, 14th Street. I’m on the 9th Floor. I thought someone was shaking my chair from behind goofing around. My son was home in Bklyn and said he felt the frame of the house shake, saw the cars outside shaking and the antennas were swaying.

  • Karl W, Schwab

    Smile, Maxine just told me It’s all George Bush’s and the Tea Partys faul.

  • SF

    I felt the earthquake as did everyone else. What I’d like to hear is whats the safest thing to do during an earthquake in NYC? Everyone was running outside but I’m pretty sure the safest thing to do is to get under a desk or table.

    • Kat Man Doo

      Depends on who else is under the desk or table!

      • Eddie G

        u Know the diference ??? that more impresive than the eartquake in NYC today.

    • BC

      Has to be a lot more severe than that to worry about it. Then best to go outside away from buildings… of course.

  • Chris McDonough

    Fairfield NJ. Weird to see the venetian blinds move and then the conference table (on wheels). A few seconds and then we all moved out of our second floor offices to go outside. Nancy, near Allentown, PA, felt it after her dogs ran into the house abruptly.

  • elaine

    I felt my chair shake slightly in Monroe, NY.

  • chrisy

    felt it here in brooklyn and ran outside. In a building, it was very scary. I was laying on the bed and asked my mom who was shaking it, she ran and we ran with her outside, she was on the phone and turned it off right away….

  • SirJmail

    I’m in Irvington, NJ and since 1970, my house has never shook, from storm-wind or anything until today. I was on the second floor, and our entire house was swaying side to side

    • Maureen Shannon

      Nichols, New York (Tioga County)

      things were shaking pretty good here….thought the frackers had blown up a well at first! my flat panel monitor was shaking like crazy! my son called from Vernon, NJ and he felt it too…my chair was shaking that was the first thing I felt…..

      • Jane Louise Smith

        Maureen, I’m heading up a victims’ fund for the devastating effects of the 8/23 East Coast disaster. If you need a new flat panel monitor, please let us know so that we can you to our list of known victims. A lot of information is being scattered about right now as the metaphorical “dust settles’; however, we will distribute relief funds for all victims soon. Thank you for your support.

  • Vickie Outerbridge-Govia

    I felt it in Union, NJ. I was sitting in my car and it was rocking from side to side. I had my iPad on my left leg and I could visibly see it moving on my leg….so scary!!! I really thought something was wrong with my car until I got home and found out it was an earthquake.




    • Aquailita

      ( ‘ . ‘ ) um….

    • sirjamil

      That is so funny, but if it was his fault…at least he felt it where he was too…LOL!

  • Ron Partain

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

    • Jane Louise Smith

      Ron, this is no time to make a joke. We are in the middle of a serious national disaster. Either lend us a hand and help these victims of this natural disaster –OR– please keep your mouth closed. Thank you. ~~ Jane Louise Smith, Founder & CEO, 8/23 East Coast Victims’ Natural Disaster Relief Fund Foundation

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