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Many New Yorkers Wondering About Strength, Safety Of City Buildings After 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake

Experts Say City Is Rock Solid
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People stand in a square outside the courthouse after an earthquake was felt in New York on August 23, 2011 causing buildings to be evacuated. (Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

People stand in a square outside the courthouse after an earthquake was felt in New York on August 23, 2011 causing buildings to be evacuated. (Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

haskell_feature Peter Haskell
Peter Haskell joined WCBS in 1994. This followed stints at WCTC Radio...
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was no serious damage to structures within the five boroughs from Tuesday’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake, but what if a stronger quake hit?

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell In Times Square

That’s the question many New Yorkers are asking this morning as they look at the strength and safety of city buildings and highrises.

The quake 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.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: Building Strength Concerns Arise

Related: Photos Of Quake Aftermath | Web Explodes After Quake

For an area that hasn’t felt an earthquake in decades, people were shocked and frightened.

Folks in higher floors around the city reported feeling the shake much more than people on the street.

“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.

Robert Otani, a structural engineer with Thorton Tomasetti, says New York City’s buildings are in good shape.

“Primarily, most newer buildings are designed to at least stay structurally sound in an earthquake,” said Otani. “They may get damages, they may have cracks in the building, but they won’t collapse.”

Architect Lance Brown agrees.

“The Empire State Building is pretty sound,” said Brown. “All of our buildings that go to bedrock.”

Since March of 1995, New York City buildings have been built to an earthquake code instituted by former mayor Rudy Giuliani.

But Brown says there are areas that are slightly more susceptible.

“We do have buildings that don’t go to bedrock and are considered to be a softer underpinnings,” said Brown. “Battery Park City, Co-op City, these are complexes that while entirely safe, they may not use the most current technology to earthquake-proof buildings.”

Prior to 1995, there was no such earthquake building code.

Experts say it would take about a 7.0 earthquake to cause any significant damage.

Do you think the city’s building are safe from natural disasters like earthquakes? Sound off below in our comments section…

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