Earthquake New York: Mayor Bloomberg Says Damage Minimal

August 23, 2011 4:51 PM EDT

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference that tremors emanating from an earthquake in Virginia did not cause any deaths, injuries or significant damage to city infrastructure and buildings.

(Photo: REUTERS/Chip East)
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

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While New Yorkers reacted with alarm to the city briefly shivering — Bloomberg noted that there was a spike in calls to 911, from the typical rate of about 800 per half hour to about 6,000 per half hour — he reassured them that there had been virtually no measurable repercussions.

“I do understand for many people this was a stressful afternoon but for now we’ve been lucky to avoid any major harm,” Bloomberg said.

The city is investigating a report that a chimney partially collapsed in a Red Hook housing development and a separate incident on 4th avenue in Brooklyn, but there was no evidence so far of injury in either case, Bloomberg said. He said that officials visually inspecting bridges and water reservoirs had found no signs of damage and noted that there had been no disruptions to subway service or to the subway infrastructure. He urged New Yorkers to take precautions against any potential undiscovered damage.

“It’s safe to say property owners should do due diligance and visually inspect buildings for cracks and contact building managers if they feel the situation merits it,” Bloomberg said.

When asked about the city’s preparedness for other natural disasters, Bloomberg praised the training of New York’s first responders and the solidity of its infrastructure, noting that “the design standards of today are sufficient against any eventuality.” He said that he was at his desk when the quake hit, and said that he initially believed the vibrations to be coming from construction in the basement, not a terrorist attack.

“Terrorism doesn’t start with a small vibration and quickly peter out, unfortunately,” Bloomberg said.

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