Just four days into its maiden voyage from Southhampton, England to New York City, the RMS Titanic, the “unsinkable ship,” hit an iceberg. The tragic sinking which followed, taking place over the final hours of April 14th into the early morning of April 15th, resulted in the loss of over 1,500 lives. While most of the passengers who set out for New York City didn’t make it to their final destination, just over 700 survivors eventually did make it to Manhattan. New York City is inextricably linked to the infamous story of the Titanic and contains physical remnants of the incident. More than 110 years after the disaster, here are five sites that connect New York City to the history of the Titanic:
1. Pier 54
The shoreline of Manhattan was the intended destination for the Titanic‘s doomed Atlantic crossing. The ship, run by the White Star Line, set sail from England and headed toward Pier 59 at Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers. In the 19th century, the Cunard and White Star Lines were the most popular ocean liner operators. The RMS Carpathia, run by the Cunard Line, had set sail from Manhattan just a few days before April 14th and was headed to Europe. On the fateful night of April 14th, it received the Titanic’s distress call. After retrieving over 700 survivors from the frigid icy waters of the Atlantic, the Carpathia reversed course and headed back to New York City.
On April 18th, the Carpathia did make a quick stop at Pier 59 to drop off the Titanic’s lifeboats, before docking at Pier 54 to let off its passengers. While the original pier building that once stood there was destroyed in 1991, a metal frame of the facade still remains to this day. You can even make out the words “Cunard White Star,” a remnant of when the two companies merged in the 1930s. Now, the metal frame serves as an entryway to the newly constructed Pier 55 park, Little Island. Pier 54 had a bit of an unlucky streak. Just three years after the sinking of the Titanic, the Pier served as the starting point for the RMS Lusitania. Five days later, the ship bound for Liverpool was sunk by torpedoes from nearby German U-boats just off the coast of Ireland.