The tragedy of yesterday’s 5.8 earthquake was not lost on New York City, where no less than four thousand soufflés fell and tens of thousands of skinny extra shot caramel macchiatos toppled over. In addition to that, millions of smokers, leisurely smoking outside of their office buildings, were instantly inconvenienced by the crowds of people pouring out of their high-rises to escape the calamity.
In truth, yesterdays earthquake, centered in Virginia, was a non-event for New York City other than it rattled a few nerves. It was felt at 1:51 p.m. EST and was about 30 seconds in duration. The last time the city felt a tremor of any muscle was in 1985, a magnitude 4.1 centered near Yonkers. The largest on record was in August 10, 1884, when a magnitude 5.2 earthquake hit the New York metropolitan area.
Many office buildings were evacuated as a precaution, as was City Hall. The timing of the earthquake spared New Yorkers from an even longer boring press conference by District Attorney Cy Vance about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn soap opera. The airports were closed temporarily, and the city’s bridges and tunnels were inspected by engineers for any structural damage.
Based on historical data, New York City is susceptible to an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 once every 100 years, a magnitude 6.0 quake once every 670 years and a magnitude 7.0 quake once every 3,400 years.
As a precaution to all New Yorkers, next time you may want to consider a tighter cover for your skinny extra shot caramel macchiato to avoid a repeat of yesterday’s tragedy.