Like many office buildings in the area, 2 Huntington Quadrangle...

Like many office buildings in the area, 2 Huntington Quadrangle in Melville, was evacuated from the earthquake in Virginia. (Aug. 23, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

Office buildings emptied out when the quake struck.

At 175 Pinelawn Rd., a four-story office building, scores of home loan, nursing and other workers milled in the parking lot after trying to go back in 10 minutes after the quake and ordered to remain outside. Having checked on their families and Googled for news, many chatted as if nothing had happened.

One of them, Adriana Henry, knew exactly what was happening in the office, having survived the 1968 earthquake in Sicily when was 6 by spending the night on a boat.

“I saw things moving side to side and I said ‘Let me get out,’ " said Henry, a client services manager at a manager at All Care Onward. “My body shifted. It was like you’re in an elevator and you lose ground.”

Scheduled to close on a home loan, two real estate attorneys had just parked at the building when their cars started shaking and they thought someone was playing a prank on them.

“I swear to God, because I know a lot of people in there, I thought somebody was moving my car,” said Michael Gallagher, a Hicksville real estate attorney and title closer. He got out but saw no one behind his car. “Then I looked at the next car and it was moving, and the next car was moving,” he said.

While he waited, Gallagher sipped a Slurpee and chatted with his colleague on the closing, Babylon real estate attorney Bob Brink, who said he had just turned off his engine but found his car still vibrating.

“I thought ‘Could the wind be doing this?’ “ Brink recalled, and he looked up at the trees but they were just swaying slightly in the breeze. For a couple seconds, he thought maybe someone from his office was pushing on his car: “I couldn’t figure out how they followed me here.”

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