The aftershocks of yesterday's 5.9 on the Richter (neither Mike nor Barry) Scale quake are still being felt today on Long Island.
Hardest hit was the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County. America's largest, and heretofore most blighted township, suffered devastating damage, with only two structures that remained standing after the tremors subsided -- the Nassau Coliseum and the Covanta Incinerator tower.
Main Street was eerily empty on Wednesday morning, with storefronts shuttered, infrastructure crumbling, and debris strewn along the sidewalks and in parking fields. [In other words, it was business as usual in "downtown!"]
Nassau County Executive, Ed Mangano, manned the Emergency Response Desk at the County Seat in Mineola, reassuring residents and attempting to allay fears.
Surveying the damage to the now scaffolded Executive Building in Mineola, Mangano told reporters that calm would prevail.
"We've already called for a September 1 vote on a $400 Billion Rebuild Nassau Bond Referendum," said the County Exec. "The proceeds will be used, primarily, to raise taxes by way of artists' renderings of what Nassau would look like assuming we ever got off our butts and actually did something."
Meanwhile, at what was left at Hempstead Town Hall [a bust of Joe Mondello embracing Al D'Amato, a stack of Murraygrams, and a half-eaten ham sandwhich from the Coliseum Deli], Supervisor Kate Murray issued a statement -- full color copies of which will be mailed to all 200,000 homes in the Town -- on Earthquake Preparedness.
"Remember to wear clean underwear," Murray began. "And avoid standing under falling buildings..."
Sage advice, from those who know.
Murray, speaking on behalf of the entire Town Board, declared Hempstead Town a disaster area, and ordered the creation of a taxpayer-funded Special Earthquake Relief District (Joe Ra, Commissioner). Details on the nature and scope of the District were sketchy at press time.
Also heard from, by way of the now famous Campfire Express, was NYS and Nassau County Democratic Committee Chairman, Jay Jacobs. Jacobs, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied that there had been an earthquake. "Just a GOP ruse," asserted the Party Chair, "to divert our attention from the real problems of Nassau County. I urge all residents to vote 'no' on the September 1 Bond issue."
At the MTA and Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, spokespersons said there had been no damage to the bridges, tunnels and rails, and that there were no quake-related delays. "Nothing out of the ordinary. Expect the usual 20-30 minute delays, random cancelations, and daily disruptions."
In anticipation of future disasters -- such as cloudy days and a 5 MPH breeze out of the west -- the MTA and Port Authority have both requested 200% fare increases, retroactive to 1997.
Chaos and destruction notwithstanding, County and Town residents appeared to take yesterday's earthquake in stride.
Wandering along Nassau's Hurricane Evacuation Route (no doubt getting a jump on Irene, likely to be headed our way this weekend), some of Long Island's most notable took pause to comment.
Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment said that the quake resulted from hydrofracking in the shale of Virginia. "Was it a coincidence that the quake happened on the very day hydrofracking hearings were being held in Albany? Of course it was. But we needed a good tie-in."
Elmont civic activist Patrick Nicolosi looked at the bright side of the quake. "Before the earthquake, the roads were cracked and pitted. Look at them now. Like new!"
Congressman Peter King blamed the earthquake on the rage of terrorist-hugging Muslims. "There's nothing natural about this," muttered King. "The mosque is the epicenter of all evil!"
And former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani added his now familiar tagline, "9/11!"
End-of-the-World believers were also having their best day ever, predicting floods, mudslides, typhoons and round-the-clock Mister Softee music playing all over town. The End Is Nearer Than It Was On Tuesday tee shirts were already being promoted on the Internet and hawked in the streets.
As they do most everything, LIers shrugged off the earthquake as simply another day on the island of misplaced dreams.
"Just add it to out property tax bills," said a passerby, not even stopping to pay homage at the makeshift memorial set up in front of the Receiver of Taxes' office. "Absolutely nothing surprises us anymore!"
Nassau Coliseum BEFORE Earthquake Hit Long Island