1. According to New York City's Office of Emergency Management, the last hurricane to pass directly over the city was in 1821. The storm surge was so high that the city was flooded up to Canal Street.
2. Katharine Hepburn nearly died in the 1938 Long Island Express hurricane.
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.
3. New York airports are extremely vulnerable to hurricanes.
Both New York airports are located next to bodies of water. In 1960, La Guardia Airport was flooded during Tropical Storm Brenda.
4. Hog Island, a one mile long island south of Rockaway Beach, was never seen again after the hurricane of 1893.
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)
5. The 1938 hurricane destroyed hundreds of trees and killed thousands of birds in Central Park. Immigrant children collected the birds to SELL TO RESTAURANTS.
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)
6. The 1938 hurricane completely decimated the city's communication system.
High winds brought down telegraph wires and left the city almost entirely cut off from communication with the outside world. (via)
7. The statistical average time between hurricanes hitting New York is about 75 years.
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!
8. New York City is the second worst place a hurricane could strike in the United States.
This chart is from the AIR.
9. The Great September Gale of 1815 (the word hurricane wasn't used then) was the first major hurricane to impact New England in 180 years. The storm was so powerful that it rained salt water.
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)
10. The 1938 Long Island Express hurricane winds reportedly caused the Empire State Building to sway.
And you thought the earthquake was scary. (via)