NYC: Hudson River Park - Pier 54
Pier 54, located at Little West 12th Street and the Hudson River, 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. Designed by Warren and Wetmore,the piers replaced a series of run-down waterfront structures with a row of grand buildings embellished with pink granite facades.
Pier 54 is perhaps best known for its associations with the Titantic and RMS Lusitania. In April 1912, the RMS Carpathia, after picking up 705 survivors of the sunk Titanic returned to Pier 54 to discharge. On May 1, 1915, the RMS Lusitania embarked from Pier 54 before being torpedoed by a German submarine. The shop sank in 18 minutes just eight miles off the coast of Ireland, killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people on board and becoming the rallying cry for American involvement in World, and turning public opinion against Germany in their war with Great Britain.
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. In World War II it was used for troop ships, and after the war it was 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. The faded sign on the steel archway notes the name of the merged Cunard White Star line.
Since then it has been used for concerts, movies and other events. In 1998 it became part of the Hudson River Park.