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5.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles New York City, East Coast

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 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 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.

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