“I’M WALKING HERE” Uniting New Yorkers on Social Media Amid East Coast Earthquake

While some residents of New York City were initially scared by the 4.8 magnitude earthquake originating from New Jersey, others were completely unfazed. Some didn't even realize it was an earthquake at all

On a crisp Friday morning, the U.S. East Coast was jolted by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake, with its epicenter pinpointed in Tewksbury, New Jersey, approximately 40 miles west of the bustling streets of New York City. This seismic event occurred just after 10:20 a.m. ET and was relatively shallow, with a depth of 4.7 kilometers, as reported by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Despite the potential for widespread concern, the quake resulted in no reported injuries and seemed to barely ripple through the daily lives of the millions within its reach.

The USGS estimated that the tremors were felt by over 42 million individuals, stretching from Philadelphia to Massachusetts, a testament to the quake’s surprisingly expansive impact. Yet, in the heart of New York City, the event became yet another opportunity for New Yorkers to showcase their unique blend of resilience and humor.

On social media, the characteristic New York spirit shone brightly as residents shared their experiences with a mix of nonchalance and wit. Some humorously confessed to mistaking the quake’s vibrations for the familiar rumble of the subway, with one individual jesting on X, formerly known as Twitter, about their momentary confusion over their apartment’s location relative to the subway lines. Another user playfully invoked the spirit of the city with a nod to the iconic “I’M WALKING HERE” scene from “Midnight Cowboy,” directing the exclamation towards the Earth’s shifting tectonic plates.

I Survived The NYC Earthquake April 5th 2024 Shirt Sweatshirt
I Survived The NYC Earthquake April 5th 2024 Shirt Sweatshirt

Concerns also emerged for the Statue of Liberty, especially after it had been dramatically shaken by the quake and struck by lightning in the preceding days. This led to imaginative speculations on social media about the series of events being an overzealous promotional stunt for an upcoming “Ghostbusters” movie.

The occurrence highlighted the comparative rarity of earthquakes in the eastern United States and their potential for broader impact due to the region’s older, more rigid bedrock. This contrasts with the western U.S., where younger, fault-ridden rocks tend to absorb seismic energy more effectively.

The event also reignited a playful rivalry between coasts, with New Yorkers seizing the moment to reaffirm their city’s prominence. This lighthearted superiority complex was underscored by references to past events where the city’s resilience and collective character had been on full display, such as during a smoke-induced orange haze from Canadian wildfires in 2023 that temporarily rendered New York’s air quality the worst globally.

This earthquake, while causing no physical harm, served as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of the planet. It also showcased the unshakeable spirit of New Yorkers, who, even in the face of Earth’s movements, respond with a blend of humor, pride, and an undying sense of community.