Not only was the New York Government a weak one and insufficiently provided with police, but the destruction of the City Hall--and Post-Offide and other central ganglia had hopelessly disorganised the co-operation of part with part.
Lower New York was soon a furnace of crimson flames, from which there was no escape.
It was the peculiar shape of Manhattan Island, pressed in by arms of the sea on either side, and incapable of comfortable expansion, except along a narrow northward belt, that first gave the New York architects their bias for extreme vertical dimensions.
Critics of the American character are disposed to consider--that up to the actual impact of the German attack the people of New York dealt altogether too much with the war as if it was a political demonstration.
For many generations New York had taken no heed of war, save as a thing that happened far away, that affected prices and supplied the newspapers with exciting headlines and pictures.
The immediate effect upon New York of the sudden onset of war was merely to intensify her normal vehemence.
To the normal high-strung energy of New York streets was added a touch of war-fever.
The two ends of the V passed over Plumfield and Jamaica Bay, respectively, and the Prince directed his course a little to the east of the Narrows, soared over Upper Bay, and came to rest over Jersey City in a position that dominated lower New York. There the monsters hung, large and wonderful in the evening light, serenely regardless of the occasional rocket explosions and flashing shell-bursts in the lower air.
No city in the world was ever so finely placed as New York, so magnificently cut up by sea and bluff and river, so admirably disposed to display the tall effects of buildings, the complex immensities of bridges and mono-railways and feats of engineering.
Particularly they feared that they might be forced into a premature action to defend New York. They realised with prophetic insight that this would be the particular advantage the Germans would seek.
The German fleet reached New York in advance of the news of the American naval disaster.