The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


August 26, 2011

Earthquake rattles nerves but little else in Bedford, Pound Ridge


When she felt the first swaying sensation Tuesday afternoon, Amy Via, an employee at Kelloggs & Lawrence hardware store in Katonah, thought she was experiencing vertigo.

“But then I saw that the counter was moving, the items on our shelves were rattling and all the wind chimes in the store were sounding,” she said. “My first thought was ‘earthquake.’ And my second thought was, especially given the age of this building, I’d better try to get customers out of the store. Better to be safe than sorry.”

Ms. Via’s assumption that the rocking she felt was in fact an earthquake.

Measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, the quake on Aug. 23 originated near Mineral, Va., about 300 miles south of New York. But as was the case throughout much of the East Coast, many people throughout Bedford and Pound Ridge literally felt the ground shaking below their feet shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“My first thought was ‘earthquake.’ And my second thought was, especially given the age of this building, I’d better try to get customers out of the store.”

— Amy Via of Kelloggs & Lawrence

Joe Klein, a housepainter working on the exterior of a home on Babbitt Road in Bedford Hills this week, said he was high up on a ladder when the tremor hit. “My initial thought was that I was leaning a little too far over and the ladder shifted below me, but the shaking kept up,” he said. “I thought maybe a large truck was passing by or something, but there was shaking with no sound.”

Mr. Klein, like many others who were confused by the shaking, said he didn’t find out until later in the day that it was in fact an earthquake.

“I went to grab a coffee at the deli and people were talking about the earthquake,” Mr. Klein said. “When I heard them, I said, ‘So that’s what that was!’”

The earthquake was the largest to strike the East Coast since 1944, when a quake of the same magnitude directly hit New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the agency that tracks earthquakes in the nation. Seismologists said the earthquake occurred at 1:51 p.m. Tuesday, and lasted about 30 seconds.

While the midafternoon quake rattled some nerves in this area, there was virtually no physical damage throughout New York State, according to officials. Although the earthquake was reportedly felt from as far south as Georgia to as far north as Maine, there were no deaths or significant injuries stemming from the incident, including in the Washington, D.C., area, not far from the center of the quake in Virginia. The Washington Monument and a few other buildings in the nation’s capital remained closed the day after the quake as engineers checked for structural damage.

In Manhattan and even White Plains, some office buildings were evacuated as a precaution. As workers in the city emptied out of skyscrapers, some reportedly expressed concern that the shaking was a result of another terrorist attack.

In northern Westchester, a number of residents worried soon after the quake about any possible impact on the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

But the afternoon of the earthquake, officials from Indian Point said neither of the nuclear plant’s two reactors was affected by the tremor.

About an hour after the quake, Jim Steets, spokesman for Entergy Nuclear Northeast, which owns Indian Point, said both reactors were running at full strength and showed no problems. Mr. Steets explained that crews inspected the plant but found no damage.

“The plant did not shut down, and we are operational,” Mr. Steets said by phone Tuesday. “They are online and operating at full power. The seismic device did not sound, so you wouldn’t expect that there would be any damage.”

In Pound Ridge, a few customers in Blind Charlie’s felt the tremor. Laura LaFrenier, the manager of the eatery, was standing outside when she felt the quake hit. A waitress outside the restaurant was carrying a serving tray, and a glass fell off and shattered when the earth shook.

“We didn’t feel anything inside,” another waitress said. 

Nearby merchants said the quake didn’t really disrupt the flow of customers. “It was business as usual at the market,” said Lisa Fortin, manager of Scotts Corner Market. She said that she was outside the store, and when she went back in after the quake, she announced the fact that there had been an earthquake. “Everybody said, ‘Oh, that’s what that was,’” she said.

Waiting for a train on Wednesday morning in Katonah, Timothy Miller, 24, said he was disappointed that he didn’t get to experience what an earthquake felt like. “I was sitting near a friend’s pool and none of us felt a thing,” he said. “The only shaking any of us felt was afterward when our phones started vibrating. People were all over Twitter and Facebook saying what they felt or where they were. Me and my friends kind of felt left out.”

Ms. Via recalled how two other earthquakes felt, one while she was living in New York, another while she was living in Philadelphia. “It’s an off sensation, even having felt earthquakes twice before,” she said.

Customers and other staff cleared out of the 124-year-old store and gathered on The Parkway, where shoppers and employees from other businesses were also assembled after the quake, according to Ms. Via.

“Once we all realized that it had passed and everyone was OK, we all went back to business as usual,” she said. “The stories about it throughout the day lasted longer than the actual tremor.”

The day after the quake, residents throughout Bedford and Pound Ridge shifted their attention to preparing for heavy rains and winds that might be heading toward the region this weekend, depending on the path of Hurricane Irene.  

Municipal workers in both towns were preparing for the possibility of severe storms this weekend. Pound Ridge Highway Superintendent Vinnie Duffield said that his department will be as ready as it can be.

“We’ll make sure all the vehicles have gas and the chain saws are all sharp,” he said, referring to the possibility that high winds could topple trees. “The storm drain surfaces will be cleared of any debris.”

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.


HOME     |     SUBSCRIBE     |     ADVERTISE     |     NEWSROOM     |     CONTACT

The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Perks – 197 Katonah Avenue    

  4. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center;
    294 Katonah Avenue   

  5. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center;
    280 Katonah Avenue    

  6. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

  2. Connie’s at Northern Westchester Hospital
    400 E. Main Street    

South Salem/Vista

  1. JNR Pharmacy – 222 Oakridge Commons;
    Route 123   

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

The Record-Review is available from our office at  264 Adams Street, Bedford Hills, NY

and at these locations:

Single copies $1.00