Hog Island: A cautionary tale

Around the time of the Civil War, Hog Island lay 1,000 feet off the shore of Rockaway, Queens — a seaside resort for NYC's elite. But on the night of Aug. 23, 1893, a category-2 nor'easter created 30-foot sea swells, flooding lower Manhattan and uprooting 100 trees in Central Park. Damages to Hog Island topped $80,000 ($2.5 million today) and floods ultimately sunk the island in 1902.

Forensic hurricanologist Nicholas Coch rediscovered this modern-day Atlantis in 1996, proving even a lower-intensity hurricane or flood could have disproportionately destructive effects on NYC because of its geographic layout.

© 2012 Stephanie Vatz, Neha Prakash & Keldy Ortiz