New York earthquake: Panic in streets as surprise quake hits

People frantically checked their phones in TriBeCa after evacuating for the quake.

New Yorkers fled skyscrapers in a panic yesterday, after feeling their office floors shake and desks sway.

Yesterday’s 5.8 earthquake, which originated in Virginia, shook buildings from uptown to Wall Street, where the Trump Tower was evacuated and closed for the afternoon.

Within weeks of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the quake also brought back unpleasant reminders of a city in crisis — tied-up phone lines, a lack of information and worries that the shaking might have been from a bomb.

Stockbroker John-Paul Yezzo said he immediately thought it was a terror strike.

“I was like, holy crap, hopefully this isn’t an attack,” he told Metro. “The immediate thought was 9/11. You can’t not think about it.”

Under his desk, he said, the floor was shaking. “There was panic in my office. You could see some terrified faces.”

“I wasn’t scared but I heard people saying they thought it was something like 9/11, since we’re so close to the anniversary,” said Gavin Singh, 31, who works on Wall Street.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced only two reports of damage, both minimal and both in Brooklyn: a partial collapse of a chimney and the other a damaged building on Fourth Avenue.

Safer in a high-rise?

Whether they were on the eighth floor or the 58th, many New Yorkers were terrified to be trapped inside high-rises during yesterday’s tremble.

But a modern high-rise may actually be safer than a smaller building, says Jerry Hajjar, chair of the engineering department at Northeastern University.

“High-rises are built to sway more on a regular basis due to wind,” said Hajjar. “Compared to an old two- or four-story masonry walk-up … those are much stiffer,” and more susceptible to damage from a quake, he said.

For example, a new 30-story building is designed to sway back and forth about 9 inches. It’s not uncommon for buildings taller than 50 stories to sway a few feet, he said. 

What to do if you’re in a high-rise

What to do if you’re in a high-rise and an earthquake hits?

“I would get under a desk so things don’t fall on you,” said Larry Brown, a Cornell University seismology professor. “Book cases, falling lamps, get away from those things.”

As far as fleeing the building itself, in a serious quake you likely won’t have time to get outside, said Brown, especially if you’re high up.

“You obviously don’t want to get in the elevator but it may not be a bad idea to go down the stairwell because stairwells are reinforced,” he said. “In an urban environment, you are actually safer inside than out because of falling glass.”

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…