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New York, New York

Pier 54: The Titanic's Arrival Destination

A dilapidated dock tells the story of Titanic's missed arrival. 

Titanic’s survivors arrived in New York, but not where they had expected to dock.

Titanic’s final destination was to be Pier 59 which was owned by the White Star Line.  Instead, the Titanic survivors arrived in New York on the Carpathia, a Cunard Line ship.  After a brief stop at Pier 59 to drop of the lifeboats from Titanic, the Carpathia traveled a few blocks south to dock at the Cunard pier, Pier 54.  Anxious crowds of people, numbering into the thousands, awaited the arrival of the Carpathia and the news of loved ones.

The same pier also played a pivotal role in another ill fated ship disaster.  Just three years later, in 1915, the ship Lusitania left from Pier 54 before being torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland on May 7.  The Lusitania sank in less than 20 minutes, killing almost all of the 2,000 passengers and crew.

Now part of Hudson River Park, a number of plans to restore the pier have been bandied about, but none so far successful. Instead, it remains a blank, empty strip of metal and concrete stretching out into the Hudson River, remarkable mostly for its emptiness. The only obvious hint of its historical significance is the rusted arch that used to form the entrance, with the original shipyard lettering barely readable – “Cunard White Star” – left untouched and eroding out of either respect or neglect, probably both.

Since then, fascination with the tragedy of the Titanic has only grown, but interest in Pier 54 and its spectral place in history have fallen by the wayside.

Know Before You Go

Note that this place is actually located close to the intersection of 11th Avenue and West 13th Street. One has to cross 11th Avenue (aka West Side Highway) to get to the pier.