Saturday, August 27, 2011

The West Indian Monster: New York's 1893 Hurricane

The New York Times screamed that it was 'the West Indian monster." It certainly acted like one. The hurricane of August, 1893 hit New York with devastating force.

Gale-force winds and heavy rain lashed the city. The winds tore roofs and chimneys off. Storm surges rose to over thirty feet. Floods swept through low-lying areas. Brooklyn and Queens were devastated. Several buildings and piers on Coney Island were destroyed. More than one hundred trees were torn up by their roots. Dozens of sailors were killed.

Parks were filled with birds killed by the storm. Immigrant boys collected the dead sparrows and plucked their feathers. Some of the birds were sold to restaurants.

The Category 2 hurricane even destroyed a whole island. Hog Island was a resort where people enjoyed eating at restaurants and bathing. The 1893 hurricane is believed to be the only hurricane that actually destroyed an island.

However, the hurricane wasn't as bad as the 1938 hurricane which killed 6000 people in New York and New England.

Flooding on New York's 12th Avenue caused by Irene.
(Ennupoet at Flickr)

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