Bessie White
The remains of Bessie White unearthed bt Hurricane Sandy. Courtesy of the National Archives.

Beyond the infamous Titanic — whose survivors docked at Pier 54 — and the HMS Hussar — which still lies in its unknown resting place today with a multi-million dollar treasure — New York is 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. Read more to dive into some of the area’s famous shipwrecks.

1. PS General Slocum (North Brother Island)

General Slocum sinking
General Slocum slowly sinks in the East River. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On June 15, 1904, over 1,300 passengers boarded the ship General Slocum for a Sunday church picnic on Long Island. The outing turned into a tragedy when the steamship caught fire shortly after it set sail. In less than 15 minutes, the ship burned and sank just off North Brother Island, killing over 1,000 members of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Though the origin of the fire is unknown, it is believed that a discarded cigarette or match sparked the flames. The event was the deadliest naval tragedy until the Titanic and the deadliest disaster in New York City until September 11, 2001. The large death toll also contributed to the decline of New York’s Little Germany community.