Mayor Michael Bloomberg just released a statement about the earthquake that shook the city this afternoon, urging New Yorkers to refrain from calling 911 except in cases of actual emergency.
“Like people up and down the East Coast, New Yorkers across the five boroughs felt the effect of this afternoon’s earthquake in Virginia. I’ve spoken with our Police and Fire Commissioners, and we’ve activated the Office of Emergency Management’s Situation Room and spoken to other city agencies, including the Department of Buildings. Thankfully, there are no reports of significant damage or injuries in New York City at this time. As ever, we urge New Yorkers to call 911 only in cases of actual emergencies.
“Shortly before 2:00 PM, we evacuated City Hall briefly, but quickly returned to work. As we await more news from Virginia and elsewhere, our thoughts in New York are with those who were more directly affected by this natural disaster.”
According to the DN, the mayor was at his desk in City Hall and evacuated, along with staffers, when he felt the building shake.
As it became clear that the shaking was not just limited to City Hall, however, the mayor and his aides relaxed — and Bloomberg even joked with reporters who pressed him for details.
“It could have been an exploding story in a tabloid for all I know,” he said.
Asked how he experienced the quake, he gave this description:
“I was sitting at my desk,” Bloomberg said. “There’s no question you could feel it … I could feel a little bit of shaking and then it got greater and it was obviously, my first thoughts were, maybe it had to do with the construction in the building, but [we] got everybody outside because we did not know.
“It turns out that it was much more widespread and there are reports that said that there was an earthquake in Virginia. That may or may not be true. We so far have no reports of any damage any place and let’s just hope that nobody got injured or killed in this.”
After about 15 minutes outside, Bloomberg announced he was going back to work.
“We’re going to go back to City Hall — a big structurally sound building that’s been here for a few hundred years — and go to work,” Bloomberg said. “As the information comes out, I’m sure the news services will pick it up and distribute it to everybody.”
The mayor’s press office just sent out word as well that he will hold a 4 p.m briefing on the quake. It will be carried live on nyc.gov and NYCTV Channel 74, and a live feed will be available on the Switch at CTY.