Rare 5.9 magnitude earthquake rattles US East Coast

The Pentagon and US Capitol Building in Washington were evacuated, as were courthouses in New York City.

August 23, 2011 21:39
1 minute read.
Virginia capital building in Richmond

Virginia capital building 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

NEW YORK – People spilled onto the streets of New York on Tuesday after a rare 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook the Eastern seaboard of the United States at 1:51 PM.

“They said it would never happen here,” said Wynette Jones, an image consultant who was among hundreds others who lined up outside their office buildings 45th street. “I didn’t feel it but my colleague did and her mother did too.”

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The epicenter of the tremor was near Richmond, Virginia and could be felt across the Eastern part of the country

In Washington, the US Capitol and the Pentagon were evacuated and two nearby nuclear power plants were taken out of service.

Danna Gonik, an Israeli working as a teacher’s assistant at New York University, said she thought she has hallucinating when it began.

“I never thought for a second it was an earthquake, I just thought my crappy building was collapsing,” she said.  “Suddenly, I saw my teaspoon shake, and the drawers open and my laptop shook. Then I saw people evacuating the building and a colleague went on to the rooftop to see if somebody was there.

“New York is trying to imitate L.A,” she said.

At the Israeli mission to the UN, several employees said they felt the quake shaking the Midtown building.

"I felt the tremors of the earthquake, but to be honest it was much less rocky than a typical debate on the floor of the Security Council,” said Ambassador Ron Prosor, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Dawn Morganbesser, a Jewish marketing professional working on 3rd Avenue, said she noticed the elevator in her building was buoying up and down but didn’t realize it was an earthquake.

“It occurred to me I would get to the bottom and tell the people that the elevator was faulty,” she said. “When I got down there was somebody reading a text on her phone saying aloud ‘what, there was an earthquake?’”

“I’ve only seen them on TV,” she added.

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