We didn't know what it was... We didn't know what was coming next...

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We didn't know what it was... We didn't know what was coming next...

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

Check out my earthquake defect in my photograph... Isn't that a strange picture shift?

I was sitting on my fave stool in Starbucks minding my blogging business when my body started to sway. I thought I was having a sugar high and tried to adjust myself accordingly, except my stool insisted upon moving my butt in opposite directions as if it has a mind of its own.

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

Then people started swaying and laptops moved on counters and stuff behind me dropped. Don't know what fell exactly because I was too busy watching people through the front window of Starbucks screaming and pouring into the street from all the surrounding high-rise buildings. Everyone was yelling at everyone else to get outside NOW.

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

I'm usually facing the Con Ed building when I hang out in Starbucks because I love to people watch while I write my book. I noticed them streaming out like ants fleeing the mound all across the Turnpike and Blvd. Suddenly people were pouring out of everywhere in a panic like someone cued their mass exodus for a Reality TV horror film. Traffic stopped because even the drivers were thrown by so many people fleeing in droves.

 Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

I left my gear and went outside Starbucks to snap this shot and could see people over three blocks away just lingering in the street waiting for the next shoe to drop. None of us knew what to do except talk about what we did and didn't know about what was going on. We kind of took comfort in the fact that no one had gotten hurt, although you could imagine hearing a pregnant unspoken pause hovering around the word "yet."

The usually sparely populated after-the-lunch-rush street suddenly being mobbed with people on cellphones looking lost, bewildered, frightened and determined to huddle in comforting clusters was a bit disconcerting.

No one wanted to be alone...

Not even the dog...

People were scared.

We didn't know what it was... We didn't know what was coming next...

Another 9/11?

Another subway bomb threat?

Construction collapse?

Plane crash?

There are so many things to choose from when people, places and things start swaying uncontrollably but somehow eathquake is not the first thing that comes to mind with New Yorkers who live under a heightened Homeland Security terror threat alert.

It may seem like a strange observation,but New Yorkers are better at dealing with terror than the threat of a natural disaster such as the sudden appearance of an earthquake. To say this was a neighborhood wake up call may be an understatement. We know how to band together in the face of a mass terror threat but are clueless how to act during an earthquake.

Seems our West Coasties got us East Coasties beat there. Sad thing is it has been a couple of hours already and a lot of people do not want to go home or back to work.

FYI: My blogger's butt is not leaving Starbucks until it closes... Just sayin I don't feel like being left alone right now. My neighbors are not home. If I go home I'll be the only idiot on the fifth floor. For now, some of us are staying put in the street until we can joke about "the after shock worry" in a day or two.

Right now my eyeball is twitching, my stomach is roiling, may nerves are shot, I'mhigh strung and emotional plus a wee bit pissed that book club is canceled tonight. I was looking forward to the dinner date and telling you guys about my gal pal Nickie who sent me an electronic copy of her novel for review and a new Kindle 0.99 purchase.

We're scared, distracted and this really whomps because no one knows what will happen next. Instead, we're all calling family and friends to check on each other. This post is for my social media peeps. Yup. Still here. A wee bit grumpy because we are woefully unprepared... (sigh). I even panic tweeted for Heavens sake - then went right into "get the shot for your blog" mode (just in case I had to run like Hell later after all shit was shaking - LOL).


A big thank you to @AmyDeZellar for making me laugh while I was in a panic. It calmed me down a bit. I did quite a bit of panic tweeting actually... Oh well... At least my Wordpress, Facebook and Tweet-peeps kept me from huddling stupefied in the street for an hour. I happen to be very grateful about that.

A virtual hand to hold by people who care AND ARE NOT IN A PANIC WITH YOU is better than no hand to hold at all.  ESPECIALLY when your family and loved ones are out of state and you are supposed to be 1,157.3 miles away with them instead of working, writing, working... (sigh).






Comments (16)

Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I understand the quake was in D.C. but, wow, it traveled far.  I grew up in Los Angeles and was pretty used to those occurences:  I remember working in a 20 story building that used to sway all the time - because there were hundreds of small tremors all the time.

Aug 23, 2011 09:46 AM
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

Thankfully, I have never been in an earthquake, but I am glad you are okay.  That must have been very frightening.

Aug 23, 2011 09:48 AM
Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407

Wow, that is pretty scary! I don't blame people. Being from California, earthquakes are common, but scary as heck none the less. Try to stay safe! Thanks for sharing.

Aug 23, 2011 09:49 AM
Yvonne Burdette-Van Camp
To Buy and Sell Real Estate, see me at Southwest Missouri Realty - Springfield, MO
"Home"work, I have the Answers!

You just never know when nature is going to say hello.......sounds like it has been an eventful day, hopefully things are settling down!


Aug 23, 2011 09:52 AM
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

I felt it in Exton while Max was getting a haircut.  I've never felt one before and while I am not in NYC, my first thought was terror as well.  

Aug 23, 2011 10:17 AM
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

I'm glad to hear that you are ok and that no one was killed in the quake.  Having been through a few of them myself they  can be pretty darn scarey. 


Aug 23, 2011 10:23 AM
Mary Stewart
HomeTrust Real Estate, LLC, Homes for Everyone - Wilsonville, OR
Wilsonville and Surrounding Portland Metro Areas

I watched this on the news for a while and am glad everyone is alright and safe.  I have never felt a serious earthquake, only small ones that have happened here in Oregon.  The largest one I felt was when Mt. St. Helens blew up and ash blew all over the different states and left inches of ash on the ground.  I was in my living room and I watched the walls move from right to left as well as the stone fireplace.  It was very scary and strange, eery.  I was grateful to have my children with me.  Great photos.  Thanks for your experience.

Aug 23, 2011 12:51 PM
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX


Fascinating! After the fact!

Thank God everyone is safe!


Aug 23, 2011 01:25 PM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Guys, it was a very strange moment in my life... I'm glad everyone is okay too. P. S. I stayed in Starbucks. I'm still here with my neighbors...

Aug 23, 2011 02:34 PM
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

wait... you aren't still there are you???  lol!

Aug 23, 2011 03:10 PM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Um... yeah. Susan, it made an impression on me... Lasting impression actually (LOL).

Aug 23, 2011 03:12 PM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Remember that scene in J-Park where the water jiggled with every step of the T-Rex. That would be nervous me reading and writing away flinching every time my water vibrates... You guys have no idea how fucked up I am about this (sigh).

Aug 23, 2011 03:15 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

CTann, I was in the car just letting Lee out for an appointment...just blogged about it.

So glad there was no reports of injury...emotional trauma...a lot.


Aug 23, 2011 03:52 PM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Margaret, I am glad no one got hurt... Will hop on over to your blog and read your post. :-)

Aug 24, 2011 04:26 AM
Lynn Rush

Holy cow CTann.  That's totally scary!  Glad you're okay.  

Aug 24, 2011 01:55 PM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Thank you, Lynn. That was very strange and freaky... Glad it turned out well in the end for us (sigh).

Aug 24, 2011 02:47 PM