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Earthquake Shakes Queens. Did You Feel It?

Vibrations reportedly felt as far north as the Canadian border.

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.

lynn utstein August 23, 2011 at 09:47 PM
I was sitting at my computer and suddenly my chair (which is on wheels) went from side to side and I start feeling dizzy. My husband who is in a wheelchair had the same sensation. My husband's aide told us we should get out of the building. We live on the 12th floor. We were able to take an elevator down. When we reached the outside there were quite a few people there who had the same idea.
Debra August 24, 2011 at 12:35 AM
I was sitting at my computer and felt something weird almost like the chair was slightly swaying. I thought my sugar level was too low because I was feeling a little dizzy, or what I thought was dizzy. I live in Richmond Hill, Queens. My son called me from LI and told me we had an earthquake. I then realized what I was really feeling was the quake. Very strange, but thankfully it wasn't what they got in VA.
Tom Pinto August 24, 2011 at 02:04 PM
i was sitting in my kitchen reading a book when the house began to move. At first i thought i was feeling sick then the cups in the cabinet began to shake. I grabbed my keys and phone and went outside where i encountered some neighbors who felt the same thing. Some workmen down the street didnt feel it since they were outside but they heard it was an earthqoake on the radio, scary ...
Katheen Simak August 24, 2011 at 04:29 PM
my daughter was home and felt it and thought it was an accident on the LIE or that a truck had jack knifed because the chandler started to shack and the wind chimes started to rattle and the window was closed. The same feeling came over her, she felt dizzy and thought maybe its vertigo. LOL never an earthquake.
Linda Perrera August 25, 2011 at 12:37 PM
I was sitting at my desk working on my computer on the 20th floor in Fresh Meadows. when I started feeling lightheaded, I turned and noticed the room was swaying back and forth. I then knew it was an Earthquake, I went into livingroom and notice the room still swaying even more back and forth, I remember thinking i have to get out of this building. as soon as swaying stopped I went down 20 flights of stairs because I know you shouldn't use elevator in case we had another Earthquake, I waited outside with neighbors and after one hour I figured it was ok to go back. This 5.8 earthquake from Virginia probably would have brought down building i was in if it center here in New York.

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