A Titanic tour of New York City

Ida Straus was offered a seat in a lifeboat, but she refused to leave behind her husband, Isidor, the millionaire owner of Macy's department store. The couple died together and this statue in Riverside Park memorializes them.

We’ve all seen Kate and Leo about a million times. This weekend, memorialize the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in a different — and free! — way: Metro’s tour of New York’s own Titanic sites. It’s free, it’s good exercise (if you walk the entire way), and best of all, there’s booze involved.

Because the doomed ship was scheduled to dock in New York City, numerous Titanic-themed memorials dot the city.

“These types of anniversaries at the very least should humble people about what a horrific loss it was,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of the watchdog group NYC Park Advocates. “It’s not just a popular movie.”

Take the tour

Here are a few places to learn more about history’s most famous maritime disaster. The tour starts in Lower Manhattan and ends with the Straus Memorial in Riverside Park:

1. Titanic Memorial Lighthouse/Titanic Park (Fulton and Pearl streets)

This prominent monument honoring Titanic victims moved to its present location at the entrance to the South Street Seaport in 1976 after being donated to the South Street Seaport Museum.

While you’re there, check out the new exhibition at the museum, “Titanic at 100: Myth and Memory,” which opened this week. The exhibit examines both the disaster and a century’s worth of fascination with the ship, and also features original objects from the boat and her passengers, many of which have never before been publicly displayed, such as letters, vintage photos and even the mayday communications she sent out.

2. The Jane Hotel (Jane and West streets)

Surviving crew members temporarily stayed in this six-story brick building, then known as the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute, and held a memorial service there.
Now, a unique micro hotel popular with young travelers, the Jane Hotel’s configuration is almost identical to the way it was when it provided a warm room and fresh clothes to Titanic survivors.

Since you’re there, pop in and get a drink: The historic West Village hotel is commemorating the anniversary the New York way — with cocktails. The Jane is offering two signature drinks to patrons. The bourbon-based “Unsinkable Molly Brown,” is named for one of the Titanic’s most famous passengers, and the only woman to man a row boat to safety. The “ST-705,” named for the 705 survivors, will be a favorite among champagne enthusiasts. Try both cocktails ($14 each) in the Jane Ballroom until April 18.

3. Pier 54 (11th Avenue and West 13th Street)

After rescuing about 700 of the Titanic’s roughly 2,220 crew members and passengers, the Carpathia zipped toward New York and docked at Pier 54, just a few blocks south of where the Titanic was supposed to arrive. About all that remains from that time is a rusty archway with the words “White Star” (the company that owned the Titanic) and “Cunard Line” (the company that owned the Carpathia) superimposed over each other.

4. William T. Stead Memorial (Fifth Avenue and East 91st Street)

Stead, a prominent journalist, ironically had written about passenger ship accidents before he himself perished while aboard the Titanic. According to a plaque mounted on Central Park’s perimeter wall, he is “numbered amongst those who dying nobly, enabled others to live.”

5. Straus Memorial (Broadway and West 106th Street)

A bronze statute of a reclining woman honors department store millionaire Isidor Straus and his wife, Ida, passengers on the ship. Ida declined a spot in the lifeboats to remain with her husband when the boat went down. A bench behind the statue is inscribed with the biblical quote:
“Lovely and pleasant were they … and in their death they were not divided.”


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