New York is deserted today on what should be one of its busiest weekends for tourism of the year, as businesses count the cost of a four-day city shutdown after Hurricane Irene forced people indoors.
But it might have been worse for New York City, as a direct hit by the damage-wreaking hurricane could have cost it up to $35billion in damage and increased the chance of a double-dip recession.
A hurricane hitting at around 100mph would have flooded the subway system and acres of pricey real estate on Manhattan and other boroughs - as well as costing the city half of its annual budget.
The city would have required state and federal assistance and recession fears would have been heightened from a damage response cost of around one per cent of the total U.S. output.
One possible scenario was that the hurricane came ashore 50 miles east of Manhattan on Long Island, which would have caused around $10billion in damage, reported the New York Times.
If an even stronger storm with speeds of at least 111mph was to have directly hit Manhattan it could have caused $100billion damage, according to estimates. more