The National Hurricane Center said the center of the huge storm lumbered ashore near Little Egg Inlet at 5:35 a.m.
The center says a hurricane warning remains in effect from coastal Virginia northward to Sagamore Beach, Mass. The storm remained a Category 1 hurricane and forecasters expect little change in strength before an expected landfall later Sunday.
The center says Irene was 100 miles (160 kilometers) south-southwest of New York City. It was moving north-northeast at 18 mph (30 kph).