There are so many variable scenarios for Irene, some models say it could head further east off the coast, others predict an inland path towards the Susquehanna Valley, but most predict it will hammer the coast.
Dire predictions warn of record storm surges from Nags Head to Brooklyn. A 15' foot surge would destroy lots of homes and businesses. Check out this Mother Jones article for some up-to-date info and historical data mixed in with the hysterical hype.
If the storm develops as expected there will be much destruction and pain for those living along the coast and on the floodplains. Once the cleanup begins and FEMA is doing its thing the discussion will turn to inappropriate development. Floodplain dwellers along the Delaware (or is it 'denial' river?) will predictably blame the NYC reservoirs. Its only a matter of time before this crowd begins calling for flood control dams on the Delaware River and its tribs.