Dominion of New York


August 28, 2011

Three Scary New York City Hurricanes

Ominous view from space of Hurricane Irene, east of the Bahamas. Photo Courtesy of Flickr by NASA Astronaut Ron Garan.

Ominous view from space of Hurricane Irene, east of the Bahamas. Photo Courtesy of Flickr by NASA Astronaut Ron Garan.


s New Yorkers awake safe Sunday morning after a weakened Hurricane Irene struck the city, many are accusing the media and political leaders with over-hyping the storm. Three-hundred-thousand trees have been uprooted and 78,000 homes are without power, according to NBC-4 news reports. But flooding is limited in the city and no fatalities have been reported here.

Still, the lesson of history is that it pays for the city to be hyper-vigilant about hurricanes.

In 1821, a hurricane struck the city directly, causing the East River and Hudson River to converge, submerging Lower Manhattan in water, as far north as Canal Street. The tide rose 13 feet in an hour and crashed over wharves. Fatalities were limited, mostly because the flooded areas weren’t heavily populated then.

In 1893, a hurricane struck a commercially vibrant barrier island off the Rockaways, submerging it completely and permanently in water. The island, Hog Island, disappeared. The storm caused a 30-foot surge in southern Brooklyn and Queens, destroying all properties in its path.

In 1938, the eye of a category 3 hurricane crossed over Long Island, producing 183 mile-per-hour winds. The storm crossed into Connecticut and by its end took 200 lives.

Hurricane Irene’s damage is still being assessed, but clearly far more limited than these three storms. Yet just last night, no one could say for certain that we’d be dealing with a mild tropical storm or a major killer.

About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.



Afro-Punk Festival & Brooklyn Loves MJ Cancelled

New York just issued a state of emergency, cancelling all street permits. Check back for updates about indoor events, especially those for which you've paid for tickets.
by Kelly Virella

Classical Theatre of Harlem's "Henry V" production still by Ruth Sovronsky. L to R: Glenn Gordon and Ty Jones

Outdoor Production of “Henry V” CANCELLED

The Classical Theatre of Harlem's production of Henry V is moving into its final weeks on stage amid a hurricane watch, threatening their free shows at East River State Park this weekend. But if everything is normal Monday and ...
by Kelly Virella