Hurricane Irene looks like many hurricanes in our past, such as Hazel (1954), Bob (1991), Bertha (1996), and Floyd (1999). But, all hurricanes are different in their exact path and strength.
The link below has a list of 84 storms that have affected New York since the 1700s.
This image below shows the track of all New York State landfalling hurricanes.
Of course, New England is a much bigger area, and has had even more hurricanes and tropical storms.
While East Coast hurricanes are nothing new, many have and will have the potential for widespread damage and huge losses.