As you may have heard, the Titanic never reached New York. But about 700 of its passengers and crew did get here on the night of April 18, 1912, three days after the sinking. In fact, their arrival drew a crowd of thousands to the waterfront.
A century later, it’s an instructive adventure to retrace some of their steps and compare Harlem then and now.
The journey starts at Macy’s, on West 34th Street at Herald Square. Isidor Straus, co-owner of the store in the first years of the 20th century, died aboard the Titanic with his wife, Ida. In fact, they’re the couple, in their 60s, who refused to be separated, and they are often mentioned in romanticized renditions of the Titanic story. They are honored more explicitly at the Isidor and Ida Straus Memorial in tiny, triangular Straus Park on the Upper West Side at Broadway and 105th Street, your fifth stop.
While you’re Harlem, you can hit the resting place of John Jacob Astor IV, perhaps the wealthiest of all Titanic victims. He’s buried with several other Astors at Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, 3720 Broadway, between 153rd and 155th streets in Harlem. He died at age 47, survived by his pregnant 18-year-old bride, Madeleine, who escaped in a lifeboat. Madeleine and their son, also John Jacob, rest near Astor in the same cemetery: http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/files/congregation/CemeteryWalkingTour.pdf).
Don’t miss visiting any of the libraries in Harlem, which is full of great books on Harlem, New York history and architecture.