Pier 54

Pier 54 in New York City is a former Cunard Line pier that is associated with the 1915 RMS "Lusitania" maritime disasters. It is now part of Hudson River Park.

History

Chelsea Piers

Pier 54 was one of a set of piers running along the West Side of Manhattan from West 12th to 23rd Street that made up the Chelsea Piers that was completed in 1910. It was designed by the architectural firm of Warren and Wetmore, which also designed Grand Central Terminal. The piers replaced a hodgepodge of run-down waterfront structures with a row of grand buildings embellished with pink granite facades.

The pier itself is at Little West 12th Street and the Hudson River in the Meatpacking District/Greenwich Village neighborhood.

Components of the Chelsea Piers included the White Star Line in the north and the Cunard Line in the south. The "Titanic" was headed for Pier 59 (at about 18th Street).

Titanic and Lusitania

In April 1912 following the "Titanic" sinking the RMS "Carpathia" picked up survivors. The ship first went to the White Star piers where it discharged the "Titanic"'s lifeboats that had been brought aboard before coming back to Pier 54 to discharge the passengers.

The RMS "Lusitania" left the port in 1915 before being torpedoed and becoming the rallying cry for American involvement in World War I.

Obsolescence

The pier continued luxury liner service until the 1930s when a luxury liner row was built between West 44th and West 52nd Street to handle larger liners.

The pier was used for troop ships during World War II. After the war it was used as part of the W. R. Grace and Company and United States Lines freight operations.

In the 1980s plans were made to demolish it (and the rest of the Chelsea Piers) for the Westway highway. In 1991 the structure was torn down although it remained an open air pier and the entrance archway was preserved. A faded sign on the archway notes the name of the merged Cunard White Star line.

Hudson River Park

Since then it has been used for concerts and the annual Gay Pride dance each June. The Nomadic Museum art exhibit housed in shipping containers was there in 2005.

In 1998 it became part of the Hudson River Park. Plans call for the pier to be used to celebrate maritime events. During the summer months, Pier 54 hosts free movies and concerts, among other events.

Band in a Bubble

Pier 54 is now the site for MTV's reality television program Band in a Bubble in which a popular band is placed inside a large "bubble" enclosure where they write and record a new album in 20 days while under constant surveillance. Webcams placed strategically inside the building broadcast via internet live images of the band's movements and progress.

The Future

In the future, Pier 54 will be home to historic vessels and will have areas for passive recreation such as sunbathing, strolling, reading or watching sunsets. A large performance space will also be a part of Pier 54’s future.

External links

History

* [http://www.atlanticliners.com/pier_54.htm Pier 54 at Atlantic Liners]
* [http://www.chelseapiers.com/prhistory.htm Chelsea Piers history]
* [http://www.wirednewyork.com/piers/pier54/]

Hudson River Park

* [http://www.hudsonriverpark.org/development/seg5.htm Pier 54 Official site]
* [http://www.friendsofhudsonriverpark.org/fohrp2.php?screen=CHmain Friends of Hudson River Park page on pier]

Photos

Forums

* [http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3114 Wired New York Pier 54 page]
* [http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5933/5759.html Encylcopeida-titanica.org discussion of pier]


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