Archive for August, 2017

Pier 54: A Neglected Bit of New York History

August 10, 2017 in Culture and History | Comments (0)

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Arrival of the “ship of sorrow” at New York. Drawing by L.F. Grant (Boston Globe artist)

A sad bit of New York history awaits visitors who would like to see the place where the survivors of the Titanic finally disembarked at the end of their tragic journey from Europe to the United States.

The Titanic, if it had made it until the end of its maiden voyage without sinking in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg, would have docked at Pier 59 on the Hudson River. Instead, the survivors were rescued by the Carpathia and brought back to New York to disembark at Pier 54 just a few blocks south of Pier 59. About 40,000 people were waiting at the dock to great the survivors, or to hear the terrible news that a friend or loved one had not made it home alive.

A mere three years later, in 1915, a ship called the Lusitania departed from the very same Pier 54. It was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland, sinking only 20 minutes later with almost the all 2000 of its passengers and crew on board.

Today the pier is part of Hudson River Park. There are several plans to restore the pier to how it looked in the early 20th century, but so far none have come to anything. Visitors today will find an empty strip of metal and concrete reaching out into the waters of the Hudson River, a dark reminder of the sad history written there.

The story of the Titanic seems to have only grown over the years, but interest in the pier seems to be fading instead.