Sunday, April 8, 2012

Titanic Trail in Manhattan

In the run-up to April 15, 2012 — the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking — museum
exhibits, lectures, concerts and even entire museums are memorializing the collision between the opulent ocean liner and an iceberg that killed more than 1, 500 people. But Manhattan tells
the Titanic story with more than just ephemera.

The Titanic was headed for Manhattan when she went down at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912 off the coast of Newfoundland. The Carpathia brought the survivors to Manhattan. Many of the people on board were New Yorkers or were bound for New York City to make it their new home. Manhattan, therefore, has more authentic sites connected with the Titanic than anywhere else except for Belfast, where she was built. Unlike a museum visit, the Titanic Trail in Manhattan takes travelers to fascinating places in the city — a shrine for America’s first native-born saint, the South Street Seaport, an old-fashioned hotel where the bellmen wear 1930s regalia, lower Broadway with its famous statue of a charging bull and the gorgeous Hudson River Park with its gardens, fountains and five-mile promenade along the river.

The 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking will come and go. In Manhattan, the Titanic is part of the city's fabric — Pier 54 at 13th Street, where the words "Cunard White Star Line" are still visible in faded paint on the rusted ironwork, 9 Broadway, where the White Star office was located at that time, the American Seamen's Friend Society Sailors' Home and Institute, now The Jane, a hotel at 113 Jane St., where the surviving crew members of the Titanic were housed, and more. Long after the centennial, in Manhattan the Titanic and its story will live on.