Rare earthquake shakes parts of New York City

Officials in New York City say a 1.7 magnitude earthquake shook parts of Queens and Roosevelt Island on Tuesday morning, not an explosion.

Around 5:45am, the FDNY received reports of buildings shaking and a loud bang at 580 Main Street, located south of the Tram line on Roosevelt Island. Initially, it was described as an explosion which the FDNY suggested could have been a transformer.

However, an investigation by ConEdison, FDNY and NYPD found no damage, outages or explosions connected to any equipment, according to Gothamist.

Instead, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the sounds and movement were attributed to a small earthquake that occurred in Astoria, Queens.

The quake extended 3.1 miles deep (5m) and could be felt by residents in Queens, Roosevelt Island, the Upper East Side and Long Island City.

Due to the rare occurrence of earthquakes in New York City, residents and first responders assumed the small shakes were due to an explosion.

A huge presence of FDNY responders on Roosevelt Island (ABC7)
A huge presence of FDNY responders on Roosevelt Island (ABC7)

The initial reports caused a fleet of FDNY and NYPD to quickly respond to the scene of the quaking. Footage, uploaded to Citizen, showed firefighters acting fast to find the cause of the so-called explosion. The New York City emergency notification system told commuters to expect road closures and delays as the investigation went underway.

But by mid-morning, the culprit of the loud bang and shaking building was revealed.

New York City Emergency Management wrote on X that the FDNY, MTA, ConEd, National Grid and Department of Buildings (DOB) reported no injuries, no impacts on traffic, transit or utility services, and no structural stability issues.

“Preliminary reports indicate no life safety concerns or issues reported at this time,” the NYC Emergency Management wrote.