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Shake it up: After rare 4.8-mag NYC quake, aftershock risk deemed ‘low’

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Following this morning’s unsettling earthquake, Mayor Adams and administration officials assured New Yorkers that no major damage — or even slight damage — or related injuries have been reported in the city, at least not yet.

The 4.8-magnitude tremblor, whose epicenter was 50 miles away in New Jersey, fell in what’s considered the “light” range. But it certainly felt powerful and lasted around a minute. People working at desks suddenly sensed their seats shaking and saw the water in clear water bottles jiggling, like in some movie about paranormal phenomena. But this was real.

The New York Post reported it was the area’s most powerful earthquake since 1884.

However, the mayor and agency chiefs said so far, the city seems to have escaped unscathed.

“At this point,” Adams said, “we do not have any reports of major impacts to our infrastructure or injuries. But, of course, we’re still assessing the situation, and we’ll continue to update the public. We’re in touch with the White House, the Governor’s Office and local elected officials. …

“If you feel an aftershock, drop to the floor,” he advised, “cover your head and neck, and take cover under a solid piece of furniture next to an interior wall or in a doorway. Earthquakes don’t happen every day in New York, so this can be extremely traumatic. The number of texts, calls and inquiries that people sent out to not only our administration but to family members checking on them, we know how this can impact you.”

An official said there was a flurry of communications for the half hour after the quake but then things settled down.

Zach Iscol, the commissioner of NYC Emergency Management, said the likelihood of aftershocks was “low,” though adding, “We ask New Yorkers to remain vigilant.” If people are outside during an aftershock, he said they should move away from buildings, trees and power lines. If inside, in general, he said, “drop, cover” and get under a doorway.

James Oddo, the Department of Buildings commissioner, said D.O.B. has “not seen an influx of New Yorkers reporting building damage.” But he urged the owners of the city’s 1.1 million buildings to check their properties. He added that, as of the time of the press conference, the agency had not received any calls regarding property damage, not even for a crack.

Schools Chancellor David Banks said there had been no reported injuries to students or staff and that the decision was made to keep all students in school and dismiss them at the normal time.

“We have no reports of any structural damage to any of our school facilities,” he noted, “while many schools, in fact, felt some tremors from the earthquake.”

M.T.A. Chairperson Janno Lieber said the agency’s seven bridges were quickly checked and, based on initial inspections, deemed O.K., plus “are designed to withstand earthquakes much stronger than we saw today.”

Catherine Sheridan, president of M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels, added“We don’t expect a quake of this magnitude to have any impact on our facilities. The Hugh Carey Battery Tunnel and Queens Midtown Tunnel are very resilient. They move with the ground.”

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