Locals in Queens were gripped in momentary panic on Tuesday, as buildings across the borough shook from the shockwaves of an East Coast earthquake.
An 5.9 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter reportedly in Virginia has shaken New York. The US Geological Survey's website shows where the earthquake orginated.
Patch is receiving reports that high rise buildings downtown have been evacuated, and residents of Bay Terrace felt the tremor.
"My building swayed noticeably. I'm on the 15th floor in Bay Terrace," said resident Carol Lehan Kolinger on Facebook.
Juan Gomez, 55, said he was lying in bed when the quake hit, and his first reaction was to assume some work was being done in his apartment building.
"I was lying in bed, and the bed started moving," Gomez said. "I tried to take it in stride." He said he didn't realize it had been a quake until he turned on the television and saw the news.
Matt Gleason, who was teaching in Great Neck, thought his students were playing a prank.
“I was actually teaching an SAT prep class, and I was standing up teaching," Gleason said. "I didn’t notice it, but the kids in my class were trying to convince me that the room was moving, and I didn’t believe them. But I guess they were right in the end.”
A lot of locals weren't terribly worried. Emil Martino, 39, a resident of Flatbush working in Queens, said he didn't feel anything because he was working outdoors with a jackhammer. It wasn't until he called his wife that he heard what had happened.
"My wife is on Wall Street, and she left the building," Martino said. "I was like, an earthquake, in New York? Are you kidding me? I'd never have thought that in a million years."
Modesto Dia, 76, an immigrant from the Phillipines, said he was sitting at his kitchen table and texting when he noticed the shaking.
"I felt the table, and there was a jar of water in front of me. I looked at the water and it was [he gestured his hand in a waving motion] just shaking," Dia wasn't too worried, however. "The Phillipines is part of the 'Ring of Fire,' we've got earthquakes, tidal waves, floods, fires. It all just happens."
At an afternoon press conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city experienced no serious damage as a result of the quake.
"I do understand for many people this was a stressful afternoon but so far we've been able to avoid any major harm," Bloomberg said. "People's fears if they had them, dissipated pretty quickly."
An advisory on the MTA's website said there has been no impact on subway service.
According to the FAA's website, flights were being held from departing from or landing at Kennedy International Airport until 4 p.m.
Little Neck resident Steve Contos was behind the wheel at the time, but his family felt the shockwaves throughout their home.
“I got home, and my father said he was sitting in the back yard and he felt the deck rumble," Contos said. "I spoke to my girlfriend, she said our dog, Harry, picked his head up and was looking around, and she could feel the bed move, and the pictures were moving, and she could see all the wires from the TV and stuff were moving. I didn’t notice it at all. Anyone who was stationary I guess noticed it.”
Contos felt a little disappointed that he had missed the vibrations.
"Left out is a very good way of putting it. I feel abandoned. I feel like I’m a Mets fan again.”
Stay with Patch as details emerge.
Last updated Aug. 23, 4:08 p.m.