The earth moved

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Laura and I were both jolted awake very early Saturday morning by what sounded like something slamming into the house. The west wall of our bedroom shook and there was a deep rumbling sound. Laura's first words were that a truck had backfired, but after a window rattled a few moments later we were both up and out of bed. I was afraid someone might be trying to get into the house. Laura thought the boiler in the basement had exploded. (Strange noises had already kept us awake long into the night—we were running the boiler for the first time this year.)

We checked out both possibilities, but found nothing amiss, so we went back to sleep. It wasn't until Saturday evening that we discovered we had been awakened by an earthquake. It was a 2.6 that struck at 1:42 am. The epicenter was on the Upper East Side, near the Queensboro Bridge, but it was apparently felt most strongly here at the Queens end of the bridge, in Long Island City and Astoria. According to the Times:

Given the hour that yesterday's earthquake rattled the streets, many people were asleep and never noticed it. Some of them refused to believe it had even happened.

Yet in Long Island City, a number of people very much felt the movement and dashed out of their apartment buildings and businesses. They looked fretfully toward the sky, fearing missiles were being fired upon the city....

In Astoria, Queens, drowsy residents scampered out of their homes in their pajamas. Some people reported lamps and china breaking. A few people, already beset by severe anxiety, went to friends' apartments for comfort.

Police officers reported that they were approached by many wide-eyed residents wondering whether a new wave of terrorist attacks had begun. Emergency calls came in, reporting that buildings were quivering and that people had heard a booming sound.

You don't think of New York City as earthquake country, but apparently we get a minor one every year or so. The last earthquake here, in fact, was January 17. Funny, that's approximately when Laura and I were in Los Angeles for the taping of her MasterChef USA episode. We were in our hotel room in Hollywood around seven in the evening one night. I was talking on the phone to my friend Christopher in West Hollywood when suddenly he said, "There's an earthquake." And that's when I realized that the bed I was sitting on was shaking. I told Laura, but she couldn't feel it. She felt ripped off. That turned out to be a 3.4 or so, I believe.

I'm just happy that Laura doesn't have to feel ripped off anymore. :)

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on October 30, 2001 7:37 AM.

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