SS Normandie on fire. Image via Wikimedia Commons 

Beyond the infamous Titanic–whose survivors docked at Pier 54–and the HMS Hussar–which still lies in its unknown resting place, possibly with a multi-million dollar treasure–New York is certainly no stranger to shipwrecks. The city’s surrounding waters hide over 300 ill-fated ships, many of which met their ends thanks to Long Island’s rocky coast and capricious weather. We dive into some of the area’s famous shipwrecks, both known and lost. 

6. Bessie A. White

A 1975 photo of what is believed to be the hull of the Bessie White in the Fire Island Wilderness. NPS Photo

Hurricane Sandy wasn’t all destruction, as the storm exhumed the likely remains of this 90-year-old shipwreck on Fire Island. In February 1922, this schooner was headed to Newport News, VA from St. Johns, Newfoundland with 900 tons of coal when it became lost in heavy fog just west of Smith’s Point. The ship ran aground but the crew and the ship’s cat escaped in two lifeboats, with only one injury. Crews later salvaged what they could of the beached ship before it was buried by a sand dune over time. A 2006 nor’easter exposed the tips of the wreck before Sandy blew away the rest of the dune.

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4 thoughts on “6 Famous Shipwrecks in NYC

  1. Further concerning the Normandy, it was recommended to the Navy that the ship be scuttled at the pier to prevent it from capsizing. The Navy disregarded the advice, and the fireboats proceeded to fill the port side with water, until she rolled.

    1. Further, the Normandie rolled at the dock due to a reduction of her stability from water poured into the ship by shoreside firefighting efforts.

  2. They actually have a really cool amphitheater set up in Tiffany Street Park in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx that has an interesting plaque directly in view of North Brother Island that tells the detailed story of the PS Slocum’s tragedy.

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