Here’s an old magic lantern slide (below) of White Star Line’s Pier 44 in lower Manhattan at the end of Christopher Street. This is not the pier that would have welcomed Titanic had she completed her maiden voyage. That was Pier 59, which was opened in 1910.
The view of Pier 44 shown here dates from about 20 years earlier. The slide is captioned “Entrance for Teams,” meaning wagons, carriages and trolleys pulled by teams of horses.
Now, here’s a look (below) at White Star Line’s Pier 59 in 1930, shortly before the company merged with Cunard Line. Within a few years, most liner traffic would move from Pier 59 and the other Chelsea Piers to larger, more modern facilities uptown.
Pier 59 is where Titanic would have docked had she been able to complete her maiden voyage. This photo gives us an idea of what the pier more or less looked like back in April 1912.
The roadwork you see in front of the pier is related to the construction of the elevated West Side Highway, which would soon run in front of all the West Side piers. I can tell you from personal experience that arriving at or departing from a pier located under the highway was a dark, dank and gloomy experience, even on a bright spring day. Driving on the very narrow roadway was no fun, either. The opening minutes of this film shows how the elevated highway overshadowed the piers and partially obstructed pier access.
Pier 59 is currently home to Pier 59 Studios, a multimedia production facility that includes a 6,500 square-foot sound stage constructed for live performances, special events, video and commercial projects.