While many in Manhattan brushed off the shaking they felt from Tuesday’s earthquake in Virginia, it wasn’t so easy for Sept. 11 survivor Dina Santora.
“I thought I was dizzy, just getting vertigo,” Santora, who works for law firm Baker Botts on the 45th floor of Rockefeller Center, told msnbc.com. “Then I felt my office bounce a little bit.”
Within seconds, Santora said there was a “mass exodus” toward the exit. Santora darted down the stairs.
Standing outside her building, Santora said, “I don’t really want to go back in there. I’m just a little nervous- I was in Tower 2 [at the World Trade Center].” Plus, she added, “My legs are burning!”
Meanwhile, Richard Shields, who survived the deadly twisters in Alabama in April, was visiting New York from Huntersville, Ala., and didn’t notice any tremors.
“We come from tornado country,” he said. “I lived in California for 10 years, felt a lot of earthquakes, but tornadoes are worse.” The ones that struck earlier this year wiped out his boathouse and part of his home. He and his wife, who he described as “a Southern Belle who’s never seen so many people” as she’s seen in New York, continued on with their vacation.
Recent high school grad Kaitlyn Hagerty and two of her friends had come into Manhattan for the day from their hometown of Phillipsburg, N.J.
“We were just having lunch, and then over the loudspeaker, they started saying to remain calm, and then they’d give further instructions,” Hagerty said. The three friends, despite not knowing what was going on, didn’t want to wait for further instructions.
“I just heard ‘Stay calm,’ and I was like, ‘Don’t tell me to stay calm!’” said Lauren Mason, who was visiting Manhattan for the first time. “We just bolted.”
Ocean Park, N.J. resident Sarah Giangiorgi was in New York for the day, about to take her two toddlers and her mother to 30 Rockefeller Center’s sky-high Top of the Rock tour. When her mother asked if she felt shaking, “I thought she was being paranoid. Then my husband texted me saying there was an earthquake.”
Instead of going to the top of 30 Rock, the family went to popular cupcake spot Magnolia Bakery.
The toddlers, licking frosting off of their fingers, didn’t seem too upset by the change in plans.
And for hot dog and pretzel vendor Ahamed Alymohsen, it was business as usual. Cooking sausages at his stand on the corner of 49th Street and 6th Avenue, Alymohson said he felt the shaking “just a little bit.” Alymohsen, from Egypt, had never experienced an earthquake, but he said no one nearby reacted to it. That included a French family across the street who knew very little English, but said they hadn’t noticed a tremblement de terre.
Two men dressed in Sesame Street costumes in Times Square didn’t feel it, either.
“I didn’t feel it, but I heard someone talking about it,” Elmo said.
Cookie Monster had no comment.