Many people at Staten Island University Hospital, including workers who were not attending patients, briefly went outside as a precaution after the earthquake hit on Tuesday.
Workers, especially on the first floor, spent about 10 minutes outside the Ocean Breeze facility before loudspeakers alerted them that everything was safe.
No patients were abandoned.
Evacuation was not mandatory and patients on the upper floors remained inside.
Hospital officials said phone and computer systems kept working properly and that there was no damage.
Dr. Mark Jarrett, the chief medical officer, said he did not feel much inside the critical care tower, which is built with steel cross beams.
"It is I believe the only large, commercial, earthquake-proof building on Staten Island," said Jarrett. "And it is very important because it was built with the concept that this may only happen every 100 years but if it happens, we have to be prepared for it."
"We were standing in the lobby of the ER, and all of a sudden the building started shifting back and forth, from side to side," said bystander Anthony Valle.
No operating rooms were in use during the earthquake.
Meanwhile, many other residents throughout Staten Island were on edge.
Those living in parts of New Dorp and South Beach said it felt as if the epicenter was not in Virginia, but right in their front yard, and some went out of their homes.
"I heard people in the hall, I went outside, they were knocking on doors saying, 'An earthquake, leave, don't use the elevator,'" said one local.
"Someone was screaming, 'It's an earthquake,' so I just ran down the stairs," said another.
"It was, like, the building was shaking. It was very dangerous, believe me," said a third.
There were no reports of any injuries.