The western edge of the storm skirted New York City–a degree or two of difference in longitude and Manhattan would have been devastated. The glancing blow pelted the city with rain and wind. Heavy morning thunderstorms turned to monsoons by afternoon. Gusts as high as 120 miles an hour screamed from the top of the Empire State Building and thirty-miles-per-hour winds swirled down the avenues. Street signs swung. Billboards toppled. Garbage cans tipped and rolled, clanging down the streets. The afternoon commute became a nightmare. Subways flooded. Trolleys stalled. The Empire State Building swayed four inches.
At the southern tip of Manhattan, the flag on the U.S. Weather Bureau office shredded like ticker tape, and the station’s barometer nose-dived. By 3:50 P.M. it read 28.72, a record low for September….