From yesterday's New York Times:
Nicholas K. Coch, a hurricane expert at Queens College, predicts that a Category 3 hurricane (the strength of Hurricane Katrina when it hit Louisiana) making landfall just west of the Hudson River Estuary would result in a greatly amplified storm surge, owing to the piling up of coastal waters in the almost right angle formed by the New Jersey and Long Island shores. Surge levels would rise to 20 feet at the Statue of Liberty and more than 26 feet in Jamaica Bay. This would cause extensive flooding of the New Jersey shore, Staten Island and Lower Manhattan, the Rockaways and Coney Island, southern Brooklyn, much of Queens, part of Long Island City and Astoria, and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and continue on to the Westchester shore.
Local Forecast: Bad
New York Press tackled this issue in 2005:
New York's second vulnerability is demographic. During the decades of calm between major hurricanes, the city grows and forgets. During the great hurricane of 1821, only 152,000 people lived in New York City. When the next major, direct hit came in 1893, the city's population was 2.5 million. At the time of the 1938 storm, Long Island wasn't a densely populated suburban sprawl; it was a rural home for oyster fishermen, potato farmers and wealthy industrialists. The same storm today would wreak incredible havoc. AIR Worldwide Corporation estimates $11.6 billion in New York losses alone.
THE BIG ONE
Photo from NY Press