When Manhattan Sank – George S. Brooks

pulpmaegawhenmahattan0125 stories for $.99 — they must be great!

This one reminded me of Cloverfield, but without the monster; which I know isn’t saying much.  Manhattan is destroyed and our main character is trying to make his way through the city to find his girl who has fortuitously stayed at home during the holocaust.

The fist sentence almost conveys a sense of deja vu, “Those who survived the destruction of Manhattan will never forget the morning of September sixteenth.”  So close.

Alex’s brother Matt is just leaving to go back to his upstate farm.  Matt had been needling Alex about asking his girl Mary to get married. Alex thinks that would be a swell and does ask her to marry him — by phone, even though she is just uptown.  I guess if texting had been invented, he would have done that.  \/\/1LL j00Z /\/\4rr’/ /\/\3?

Mary accepts  by phone — but says she can’t make it out that evening to meet him for a drink, so these two hopeless romantics seem to deserve each other.  Alex is on the subway home when the first shocks hit.  The train crashes and everyone believes it is due to an explosion until water begins flooding the tunnel.  No one suspects the Muslims because there weren’t pissed at us at the time; but it’s a safe bet they were pissed at someone.

He is able to make it back to street level at 51st and Lexington.  He struggles through the streets encountering the wreckage of fallen buildings, and crevasses in the streets exposing the underground lines.  The area around Central Park has become a sea of humanity washing into the park seeking an area where nothing will fall on their noggins.

Alex is able to find Mary and together with a small group, they work to find a way out of the city.   Eventually, the government competently comes to the rescue — this isn’t Ebola after all — and everyone is OK.

Well, for 2 years until the stock market crashes, the Great Depression begins, a fascist is repeatedly elected, and eventually World War II begins.  But until then, it’s just the bee’s knees and everyone is wearing onions tied to their belts.

Only an OK story, with the writing and story not matching the scope the title promises. But, really, how could it?


  • First Published in Complete Stories, July 1927.
  • Also that month: Ty Cobb’s 4,000th career hit.
  • Alex’s trek through New York cites several locations, but I got lost trying to plot them on Google Earth due to 1) not being that familiar with NYC, and 2) being a man, refusing to ask for directions.
  • Thanks to the Lee7 Speak Converter.

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