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Earthquake Shakes Brooklyn Tech


At 10:23 in the morning on April 5th, buildings from Philadelphia to Boston began to shake, with the New York City metropolitan area being just 50 miles away from the 4.8 magnitude earthquake’s epicenter in Lebanon, New Jersey. Although students and teachers across the building felt the tremors, business went about as usual at Brooklyn Tech.

In the wake of the day’s events, Mayor Eric Adams advised, “New Yorkers should go about their normal day.” This message was echoed by other leaders across the state, with Governor Kathy Hochul saying, “Fortunately here in the state of New York, we are masters of disasters… We know how to handle this.”

As of Friday, the fire department of New York said that there were few initial reports of damage or injury. Additionally, NYC Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David Banks said that public school students were safe and that parents did not need to pick up their children early. However, since then, damages like a cracked wall in a school gymnasium in East New York have been uncovered

The earthquake occurred during fourth period, and while some claimed they had not experienced any signs of tremors, others felt, heard, and saw them on different surfaces around the building. The school’s administration did not make any announcements on the loudspeakers regarding the event.

Genetics and Forensics teacher Mr. Sean McCaffery, who teaches in room 2E10, said, “I noticed that all my windows were clamoring around in the frames.” He did not immediately recognize that this was a result of the earthquake, initially crediting this rattling to the construction site that is right outside his classroom windows, but noted, “By the eighth second, I realized that this was definitely not construction.”

Coordinator of Student Activities (COSA) Ms. Christina Massie was working in the COSA office on the 7th floor when the earthquake happened, showing how the impacts of the earthquake were felt throughout much of the building. She explained, “The desk was shaking, the chair was shaking, and I thought the floor was moving… I thought I was crazy.” 

Software Engineering major Daniel Haung (‘24), who was on the 5th floor at the time of the earthquake, said, “It was pretty surreal. My entire class was goofing off and going crazy because it was the first time we experienced an earthquake.”

However, some members of the school community like Physics major Vola Finn (‘25), could not even feel the earthquake’s effects, only hearing about it from family and friends. Finn emphasized, “I was on the first floor but once I got to gym everyone was saying the locker room was shaking and then my mother called me saying we had an earthquake.”

During the hours following the earthquake, emergency alerts were coming from the phones of students and staff in hallways and classrooms, with many going off at different times. Many found them distracting, while others found that their significance outweighed the annoyance. 

“I think [the alerts] can be a little too alarming because then it makes you feel like there is something happening now,” Ms. Massie postured, noting the delay in many of the alerts while simultaneously emphasizing their importance. “They’re good to have the notification of something happening.”

In terms of interruptions, Biological Sciences major Sia Jumani (‘24), who was on a field trip to the Metropolitan Opera, accounted that “everybody’s first emergency alert went off when in the middle of the Opera while it was completely silent except for one cast member singing, which was both very amusing and very startling.”

While the earthquake and much of the subsequent interruptions brought a ton of excitement to Tech on April 5th, similar events are not likely to occur again soon. This was NYC’s second earthquake this year, with one of a 1.7 magnitude hitting Roosevelt Island and Astoria, Queens in January, but earthquakes as a whole are quite uncommon in the northeast.

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About the Contributor
Josephine Murphy
Josephine Murphy, Editor-in-Chief
Josephine Murphy (she/her) is a Co-Editor-in-Chief. Josephine joined The Survey during her freshman year as a Staff Writer for the News Section, hoping to grow as a writer while also being able to explore social and educational issues. In her sophomore year, she took on the role of Co-Editor of News, and in her junior year, she continued with her role as the Co-Editor of News, also taking on the role of Executive Editor. Josephine believes that journalism is crucial to introducing perspectives into the discourse about a variety of topics. Josephine enjoys reading The New York Times, the London Review, and New York Magazine. In the future, Josephine hopes to work as a journalist for several years before entering law school, as she is very passionate about both journalism and the issues in the realm of criminal justice. She expects to double major in political science and history in college. During her free time, Josephine can be found trying new places to eat and binge-watching TV series from the early 2000s. Josephine's favorite book is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, enjoying its satirical nature.

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