Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Titanic Trail...

April 4th 2006, and my last full day in the U S of A, for this particular sojourn. A trip from sunny Plainfield (which it really has been) into New York City for a last minute dash around, at places I wanted to see, before heading back to AZ towers in London, overnight Wednesday.
At the top, you'll see the Empire Diner. Recognise it ? Oh, it's been in many movies of course, but the reason I wanted a quick visit and a pic, is because I'm a Tom Waits fan.
If you are too, you'll recognise it instantly.
But today was also a Titanic trail. Let me explain. I've always been fascinated by tales of the ill fated Ship, particularly since, in my younger years, I was informed that a distant relative was lost in the disaster. Various peeks into the family tree has not supplied me an exact name of the relative in question - yet - but I am determined to find out. Robert Ballard finding and documenting the Ship through various TV Documentaries in the last 20 years or so has peaked my interest even further, with me having visited various Titanic memorial sights, attending exhibitions, and the like. But, I wanted to see what, if anything, New York had to offer on this subject. After all, the Ship never got here.
Closer scrutiny and investigation revealed that the Ship was due to dock at Cunard Piers 60 and 61, on the Hudson River. These no longer exist. The rescue ship Carpathia, docked in at the quay along from 14th St with hundreds of survivors aboard, but this is no longer there either. But, I went down to South Street Seaport today, at the bottom of Manhattan, and there is a large Titanic memorial at the entrance to the Museum (pic 3, above).
And, after some dogged work by fellow Zoneheads, I discovered that the former offices of the White Star Line, back in 1912, were on the first floor of No. 11, Broadway.
Now offices for Banks, Lawyers and the like, but these premises are pictured above.
The property originally had white granite stairs, shown often on old film footage and newspaper pictures when concerned relatives gathered there, when news of the disaster struck.
So, yet more for my little personal archive.
My US adventure, for the moment, is about to come to an end, and I've had a wonderful time.
Eternal thanks to Rich and Carla (and the Fab Five) for their amazing hospitality, and a huge thanks to friends old and new who have made this visit so memorable. I have been lucky travelling around, sunny weather for the most part, and great little towns deep in New Jersey and numerous trips into New York later, and I still want more. Oh, and what is it suddenly doing here this morning ? I'll tell you. It's snowing. Strange but true.
I'll be back.

Johnny Reece