Situated on the west side of Manhattan on the Hudson River are four piers stretching from 17th to 23rd streets known as Chelsea Piers. Long before Chelsea Piers became the recreation center it is today, it had an interesting past tied to ships like the infamous RMS Lusitania and the RMS Titanic, and with both World Wars, making that area of Chelsea deeply engrained into the transportation history of New York City for over 100 years. In light of the upcoming anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, here are the top 10 secrets of Chelsea Piers.
10. Chelsea Piers Welcomed the World’s Greatest Liners
“New Chelsea Piers on the Hudson,” 1912 . Photo from Library of Congress.
Opened in 1910, Chelsea Piers became one of the city’s busiest ports for those famous large ocean liners. Most notably, passenger ships traveling along the White Star and Cunard Lines back and forth between Europe and New York docked here. The piers could hold five ocean liners at once, showing onlookers a total of twenty steaming smokestacks that stood on the ships.
The ships transported the rich and famous from Europe, but thousands of immigrants also came in with them. The ships would dock at Chelsea and then those entering the United States would be ferried from these piers to Ellis Island. If you’re familiar with the movie Titanic, you already have a pretty clear image of what the lavish life on board these ships looked like.