New York Rattled By Earthquake, Aftershock

Photo by Vlad Alexandru Popa on

New York: UN Security Council diplomats were shaken in their chairs, planes got briefly grounded, and furniture rattled across New York Friday when an earthquake jolted the city that never sleeps.

No one was hurt, though, and New York’s iconic skyline remained intact.

“I AM FINE,” reported the Empire State Building on its X account.

The tremor had a 4.8 magnitude, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Near the epicenter in Lebanon, New Jersey, Dominika Uniejewska, a 50-year-old retail worker, said “I’m still shaking” after being woken up by the quake.

“I’ve never experienced such a strong earthquake. I did experience some before, but it was nothing compared to that. The whole house was really shaking. The bed was shaking, the house was making rumbling noises,” she said.

“I ran to check on my dog. The dog was okay.”

In Brooklyn, buildings shook, rattling cupboard doors and fixtures, an AFP correspondent reported.

“I’m nervous, I’m shaking. Many people are scared right now,” said Brooklyn resident Ana Villagran, 62.

Shortly before 6:00 pm (2200 GMT) the region was shaken by an aftershock which the USGS said was 4.0 magnitude.

“I AM STILL FINE,” the Empire State building wrote on X.

At the United Nations, which has its headquarters in New York, a Security Council meeting on the situation in Gaza was temporarily paused after the initial tremor.

“Is that an earthquake?” said Save the Children representative Janti Soeripto who was speaking at the time. One diplomat joked: “One for the memoirs.”

‘Under control’

A short time later many diplomats’ cell phones blared with the sound of the emergency alert system confirming the quake.

“Residents are advised to remain indoors and to call 911 if injured,” the emergency alert said.

Flight operations were halted at several airports in the region including New York’s La Guardia, Newark in New Jersey and in Philadelphia.

“Air traffic operations are resuming as quickly as possible,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

Social media users reported feeling the earthquake from Philadelphia up to New York and eastward along Long Island.

Several users posted images of knocked over garden furniture captioned, “we will rebuild.”

“Earthquakes are uncommon but not unheard of along the Atlantic Coast, a zone one study called a ‘passive-aggressive margin’ because there’s no active plate boundary between the Atlantic and North American plates,” the USGS wrote on X.

Moderately damaging earthquakes strike somewhere in the urban corridor roughly twice a century, and smaller earthquakes are felt roughly every two to three years, USGS said.

US President Joe Biden was briefed on the situation, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Social media users jokingly questioned whether an earthquake coming days before the April 8 solar eclipse, which will be visible across swaths of the northeastern United States, heralded the end of the world.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul acknowledged New Yorkers were “not accustomed” to earthquakes and — at a hastily convened press briefing — warned residents to be wary of any possible aftershocks.

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