5. SS Normandie (Pier 88)

SS Normandie shipwreck in NYC
SS Normandie on fire. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons 

Launched with much celebration in France in 1932, the Normandie was the first major ship to surpass 1,000 feet and later became the first major ocean liner to cross the Atlantic Ocean in under four days. When World War II broke out, the U.S. Navy claimed the Normandie for the war effort and renamed it the USS Lafayette.

During the war, the military stripped the ship of its luxurious fixings and prepared it for reconstruction into a naval ship. In February 1942, a spark from a welder’s torch set off a fire that ultimately destroyed the ship. Salvaged from the bottom of the Hudson River, the SS Normandie was sold for parts, with its famed ballroom doors now at a Brooklyn Church. The Normandy apartments on Riverside Drive are supposedly named for the ship.