Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. You probably know this because you’ve either heard tons of hype about in the news or you’ve noticed that Leonardo DiCaprio is king of the world again. But here’s an interesting tid-bit: had the Titanic not sank in the middle of the Atlantic, it would have docked at Chelsea Piers.
You may not think of New York as a port city, but it is. (Don’t forget that every summer you watch movies on a carrier docked at a port.) It was even more so 100 years ago when flying was still in its infancy (It had only been 9 years since the first flight) and cars were just starting to become mainstream (the Model T had been introduced only four years prior.) And of New Yorks’ ports, Chelsea Piers, which routinely saw ships from the prestigious British White Star Lines, was one of the standouts.
Anyway, the Titanic was supposed to dock at Pier 59 on April 17, 1912 amid much celebration (don’t forget, the ship was LOADED with rich people and billed as a landmark of human engineering.)
Of course, as we all know it never made it. The ship hit an iceberg and sank in the middle of the Atlantic. Some of the Titanic’s passengers did make it to Chelsea Piers onboard the rescue ship Carpathia. 675 rescued passengers arrived and were greeted by thousands when the Carpathia docked in New York on April 20, 1912. (Edit: as noted in the comments below, the passengers arrived at Pier 54 instead of 59)
As for the pier itself, after it fell out of use it began to decay (kinda like Times Square), and was actually almost destroyed and replaced by a highway in the 80s. Then in the 90s the city came up with the idea to turn the area into a recreational center and the rest, as they say, is history.