The Big Apple shakes

By Alex P. Vidal

“In every area of the world where there is earthquake risk, there are still many buildings of this type; it is very frustrating to try to get rid of them.”— Charles Francis Richter

I WAS walking on 8th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan when the 4.8-magnitude earthquake slammed The Empire State April 5 past 12 noon.

“Emergency alert,” screamed an advisory sent to the cellphones of all New York residents. “4.7 magnitude earthquake has occurred in the NYC area. Residents are advised to remain indoors and to call 911 if injured.”

I hardly felt the tremor when I entered a pawnshop in front of the Jollibee New York branch to check a mini-MacBook up for 70 percent sale.

To make my short visit in the pawnshop long, I waited until the “slight” (‘Twas peanuts compared to the 7-something in the Richter scale I experienced in the Philippines in 1975) shaking had stopped.

The Big Apple and New Jersey aren’t supposed to be earthquake-prone states. Snow storm yes, but earthquake?

Did we ever hear a story—big or small—in the past about a killer quake hitting the City That Never Sleeps? Hardly and I don’t need to Google it. Unless I live in California, particularly in San Francisco, the earthquake epicenter in America.


USA Today writer Rex Huppke thinks God is mad at residents of New Yorker and New Jersey because the tremor hit the neighboring Northeastern states and shook New York City just days before a solar eclipse will bring darkness across the land a month or so before a dual emergence of cicadas, which are basically locusts with dietary self-control.

“Conspiracy theorists were quick to pounce on these developments with ridiculous postulations, but thankfully, there’s a simple explanation: God hates us and we’re all about to die,” insisted Huppke.

“When confusing natural phenomena occur, I always turn to the wisest among us, and Friday was no different. Not long after the quake was reported, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene posted on social media.”

“God is sending America strong signs to tell us to repent. Earthquakes and eclipses and many more things to come. I pray that our country listens.”

She put a “praying hands” emoji at the end, which is a signal that this is serious.


New York City had an earthquake today (April 5). Actually, the epicenter was in New Jersey, but we felt it, opined another writer Liza Donnelly who wrote, “I was on a commuter train into Grand Central Terminal from the Bronx near my apartment when we felt the quake. The shaking was so minor, I thought something was wrong with the train for a moment…but then it passed. Within a few minutes, my daughter, who lives in Poughkeepsie (40 miles north of Manhattan) texted me and said ‘Did you feel the quake??’ Five minutes passed before I got the citywide phone alert that let us know that indeed we had felt a earthquake.”

Donnelly added: “It was rather exciting because it’s so rare. Just after the quake, I drew the below. No one seemed phased. I kept expecting to hear people talking about it, but, within ear-shot, no one was. I wondered if I should leave the building, what if the aftershock is really bad (I don’t think there was one)? We aren’t used to this in the Northeast! The last NYC quake I felt was in the 1980’s, in my apartment. I had woken up just ten minutes before it hit around 2 am. That one I really felt, I thought there had been an explosion.

“Anyway, here is my little sketch for you of the wonderful clock in Grand Central Terminal, done ten minutes after the infamous New York City Earthquake of 2024.”


I GOT an email from New York Governor Kathy Hochul which she also sent to other New Yorkers:

Alex, T-minus three days until the total solar eclipse comes to New York on April 8! The path of totality runs across upstate New York, and the entire state is going to have the opportunity to see a partial eclipse.

As we prepare for this out-of-this-world event, who better to talk to than an astronaut who is going to experience the event from space!?

This week, I had the pleasure of talking to Syracuse’s own Dr. Jeanette Epps live from the International Space Station — who is going to be one of the few people to ever witness a total solar eclipse from space.

The total eclipse will begin in Western New York shortly after 2:00 pm but start times will vary across the state.

If you’re traveling to view the total solar eclipse, there are certain steps you can take to get the most out of your experience:

—Arrive early and stay late so you can enjoy all our state has to offer

—Plan for extra travel time

—Pack plenty of water and supplies

—Find a safe viewing location

—Get ISO-certified glasses and make sure to wear them while viewing the eclipse

—Wear red and green for the best viewing experience

This is a once-in-a-generation experience, and I can’t wait for New Yorkers and millions of expected visitors to come together to safely enjoy this cosmic event! Ever Upward, Gov. Kathy Hochul

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)