LOWER MANHATTAN — City officials marked the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's doomed voyage with a solemn ceremony at the South Street Seaport Thursday.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined dignitaries from England, Ireland and Northern Ireland to lay a wreath beside the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse on Pearl Street, which was dedicated on the first anniversary of the tragedy 99 years ago.
"Today, we remember that 100 years ago this week, one of the greatest maritime disasters the world has ever known occurred," Quinn said.
"Also 100 years ago this week," Quinn continued, "New York City welcomed my grandmother and the other survivors after their dramatic escape from the Titanic…. She is a powerful reminder that anything is possible."
More than 1,500 people were killed when the luxury ocean liner sank in the Atlantic Ocean April 15, 1912, but hundreds more survived like Quinn's grandmother and were greeted with a hero's welcome when they arrived in New York several days later.
The legendary ship and the stories of the people aboard are the subject of an exhibit that opened this week at the South Street Seaport Museum, just steps from the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse.
Called "Titanic at 100: Myth and Memory," the exhibit features never-before-seen artifacts recovered from the boat after it sank, along with an interactive display that allows visitors to take their own tour of the famous ship.
"There's a very deep connection between Titanic and New York City," said Sarah Henry, chief curator for the Museum of the City of New York, which runs the South Street Seaport Museum. "It hit New York very hard."
Many famous New Yorkers were aboard the Titanic, including John Jacob Astor and members of the Guggenheim family, and New York mounted a huge fundraising effort to support the survivors, Henry said.
Artifacts on display at the Seaport Museum include transcripts of telegraph messages sent from the Titanic, a ring that belonged to a crew member who died and a cribbage board made from a piece of Titanic driftwood found after the disaster.
The exhibit also traces the story of the Titanic over the past hundred years, from the newspaper coverage of the immediate aftermath to the various film adaptations of the story, including one released by a survivor in May 1912.
"Titanic at 100: Myth and Memory" is on display at the South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton St., Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Through the end of April, admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 9. Starting May 1, admission will rise to $10 for adults.