On September 21st, 1938, it came without warning. As the story goes, Katharine Hepburn was out playing golf in Fenwick as the monster storm approached. Hepburn and many others rode out the storm in Fenwick. She wrote in her 1991 memoir that 95% of her personal belongings were either lost or destroyed, including her 1932 Oscar, though it was later found intact.
Both New York airports are located next to bodies of water. In 1960, La Guardia Airport was flooded during Tropical Storm Brenda.
On the night of August 23, 1893, a devastating Category 2 hurricane made landfall. By the following morning, August 24, Hog Island had mostly disappeared. New York City's leading hurricane historian, Nicholas Coch, a professor of coastal geology at Queens College, believes that this is the only reported incidence of the removal of an entire island by a hurricane. (via)
In Central Park, "More than a hundred noble trees were torn up by the roots, and branches were twisted off everywhere." The park was devastated and thousands of dead birds fell to the ground after being washed out of, or drowned in their nests. Groups of children gathered the birds and picked them up, with the apparent intention of selling them to restaurants. (via)
High winds brought down telegraph wires and left the city almost entirely cut off from communication with the outside world. (via)
New York is overdue for one. The last hurricane to hit New York was in 1938 (and that wasn't even a direct hit). The last direct hit was in 1821!
This chart is from the AIR.
Historical reports recount the rain tasting like salt, the grapes in the vineyards tasting like salt, the houses had all turned white, and the leaves on the trees appeared lightly frosted. (via)
And you thought the earthquake was scary. (via)