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West 55th Street & West 56th Street Piers, Hudson River at West Fifty-fifth & West Fifty-sixt, New York, New York County, NY



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Data Pages


Photo Caption Pages


Item Title


Location
Hudson River at West Fifty-fifth & West Fifty-sixt, New York, NY

Find maps of New York, NY


Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1968.

Notes
Survey number HAER NY-147
Building/structure dates: 191 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1930 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1937 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1942 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1949 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1953 subsequent work
Significance: The piers at West 55th and West 56th streets are important and rare remains of historic transatlantic commerce in the Port of New York, being two of only three municipal piers built for this traffic which survive with relatively undisturbed original fabric. Between 1897 and 1936, the City of New York built four terminals with twenty-two piers on the Hudson River to accommodate the growing size of ship and retain the port's traditional dominance in the liner trade. Together with the recently-demolished West 57th Street Pier superstructures, the two piers formed the third and most northerly of the four terminals. Completely rebuilt c1914-17 from older piers, the three piers followed the Gansevoort and Chelsea piers of 1897-1908, and generally predated the terminal completed in 1936 between 44th and 52nd streets. Typical of municipal and some private pier and piershed construction during the period 1910-1925, the piers from 55th to 57th streets also featured bulkhead shed joining the pierheads and presenting a unified street facade. Similar in general architectural design to the bulkhead sheds of the Gansevoort and Chelsea piers, these three piers were somewhat transitional in using facade materials and proportions similar to those of the later liner piers just to the south, which substituted four-bay head houses for bulkhead sheds. The 55th Street Pier is also of historic engineering interest for its early use of hinged cargo beam design, to relieve stress on cargo mast systems. Following terminal completion, Furness, Withy & Co., Ltd. and Navigazione Generale Italiana (Italia) were the principal liner tenants for five decades, until airline and container traffic largely eliminated Port of New York liner traffic during the 1960s. Together with Pier 54 in the Chelsea Section, the West 55th and West 56th street piers stand today as mute witnesses to the heyday of the 20th century liner trade.

Subjects
Ships
Piers (marine Landings)


Related Names
Staniford, Charles E.
Keller, T. F.
Lenke, M.
Pennsyvania Steel Company
Snare & Triestee Company
Olvaney, William J.
Berger, Norman, Field Team
Criscitello, Douglas, Field Team
Flagg, Thomas R., Field Team
Weinstein, Gerald, Photographer
Raber, Michael S., Historian


Collection
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)

Contents
Photograph caption(s): 
1. VIEW EAST OF OUTSHORE FACADES AND SOUTH SIDES
2. VIEW SOUTHEAST OF OUTSHORE FACADES AND NORTH SIDES
3. VIEW NORTHWEST OF INSHORE FACADES
4. VIEW EAST OF WEST 55TH ST. PIER OUTSHORE FACADE AND SOUTH SIDE
5. VIEW WEST OF WEST 55TH ST. PIER INSHORE CENTRAL FACADE
6. VIEW NORTHWEST OF WEST 55TH ST. PIER SOUTH SIDE
7. VIEW SOUTHEAST OF WEST 56TH ST. PIER OUTSHORE FACADE
8. VIEW NORTHWEST OF WEST 56TH ST. PIER INSHORE CENTRAL FACADE
9. VIEW NORTH OF WEST 56TH ST. PIER SOUTH SIDE
10. DETAIL OF WEST 56TH ST. PIER AND BULKHEAD SHED, EXTERIOR SOUTHEAST CORNER, LOOKING NORTHEAST
11. DETAIL OF WEST 55TH ST. PIER PROMENADE DECK FACADE, SOUTH CORNER, LOOKING SOUTHEAST
12. WEST 55TH ST. PIER CARGO MASTS, LOOKING NORTHWEST
13. DETAIL OF WEST 56TH ST. BULKHEAD SHED LIFT DOOR AND INSHORE FACADE ARCH, LOOKING NORTHWEST AT THIRD ARCH SOUTH OF CENTRAL ENTRANCE
14. DETAIL OF BOW SLIP BUILT NORTH OF WEST 56TH ST. PIER IN 1926, LOOKING NORTHEAST
15. VIEW EAST OF OUTSHORE HALF, WEST 55TH ST. PIER LOWER STORY INTERIOR
16. VIEW NORTHWEST OF WEST 55TH ST. PIER SECOND STORY INTERIOR, FROM ENTRANCE TO WAITING ROOM
17. DETAIL OF WEST 55TH ST. PIER AND BULKHEAD SHED INTERIOR SOUTHEAST CORNER, LOOKING SOUTHWEST
18. VIEW NORTHWEST OF WEST 56TH ST. PIER INTERIOR, FROM INSHORE END
19. VIEW SOUTHWEST OF WEST 56TH ST. BULKHEAD SHED SOUTH HALF
20. INTERIOR DETAIL OF WEST 56TH ST. PIER HIGH CARGO DOOR AND SHED ROOF, LOOKING SOUTHWEST
21. DETAIL OF WEST 55TH ST. BULKHEAD SHED PASSENGER STAIR AND BAGGAGE ESCALATOR, LOOKING SOUTHWEST
22. DETAIL OF WEST 55TH ST. BULKHEAD SHED PASSENGER WAITING ROOM, LOOKING SOUTHEAST
23. DETAIL OF BOILERS, WEST 55TH ST. BULKHEAD SHED, LOOKING NORTHEAST
24. DETAIL OF AIR HEATER AND BLOWER, WEST 56TH ST. PIER, LOOKING NORTH
25. DETAIL OF SPRINKLER VALVE HOUSE, WEST 55TH ST. BULKHEAD SHED, LOOKING NORTHEAST
26. Photocopy of 35 mm. color slide (City of New York Department of Ports, International Trade, and Commerce), May 1985, Norman Berger AERIAL VIEW NORTHEAST OF PIERS 95, 96, AND 97
27. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports, International Trade, and Commerce) no date FREIGHT SHED/WEST 55TH ST. IMPROVEMENT/BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN/ HEATING SYSTEM INSTALLED BY WILLIAM J. OLVANEY (1 of 2 sheets)
28. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports, International Trade, and Commerce) dated July 11, 1985 CONTRACT NO. 3960/CITY OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF PORTS AND TERMINALS/DEMOLITION & REMOVAL OF SHEDS OF PIERS 95 AND 96, N.R./ BOROUGH OF. MANHATTAN/ PLANS, PIERHSED & BULKHEAD SHED, PIER 95
30. Photocopy of photograph (Frank O. Braynard Collection, Sea Cliff, NY), date and photographer unknown, probably c1935-40 VIEW NORTHWEST OF WEST 55TH ST. PIER INSHORE FACADE; QUEEN OF BERMUDA AND MONARCH OF BERMUDA MOORED ON EITHER SIDE.
31. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports International Trade, and Commerce) no date CONTRACT 1519/CITY OF NEW YORK/DEPARTMENT OF DOCKS AND FERRIES/ FREIGHT SHED/ W. 55TH ST. IMPROVEMENT/BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN/ GENERAL ARCHITECTURAL PLANS AND ELEVATIONS (Drawing 1 of 16)
32. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports International Trade, and Commerce) no date CONTRACT 1519/CITY OF NEW YORK/DEPARTMENT OF DOCKS AND FERRIES/ FREIGHT SHED/ W. 55TH ST. IMPROVEMENT/BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN/ INSHORE AND OUTSHORE ELEVATIONS (Drawing 2 of 16)
33. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports, International Trade, and Commerce) no date CONTRACT 1519/CITY OF NEW YORK/DEPARTMENT OF DOCKS AND FERRIES/ FREIGHT SHED/ W. 55TH ST. IMPROVEMENT/BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN/ BULKHEAD AND WAITING ROOM DETAILS (Drawing 3 of 16)
34. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports, International Trade, and Commerce) no date CONTRACT 1519/CITY OF NEW YORK/DEPARTMENT OF DOCKS AND FERRIES/ FREIGHT SHED/ W. 55TH ST. IMPROVEMENT/BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN/ GENERAL FRAMING PLANS - PIER SHED (Drawing 6 of 16)
35. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports, International Trade, and Commerce) no date CONTRACT 1519/CITY OF NEW YORK/DEPARTMENT OF DOCKS AND FERRIES/ FREIGHT SHED/ W. 55TH ST. IMPROVEMENT/BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN/ CROSS SECTION AND DETAILS - PIER SHED (Drawing 8 of 16)
36. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce) no date CONTRACT 1519//CITY OF NEW YORK/DEPARTMENT OF DOCKS AND FERRIES/ FREIGHT SHED/ W. 55TH ST. IMPROVEMENT/BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN/ SIDE FRAMING OF PIER SHED (Drawing 10 of 16)
37. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports, International Trade, and Commerce) no date CONTRACT 1519/CITY OF NEW YORK/DEPARTMENT OF DOCKS AND FERRIES/ FREIGHT SHED/ W. 55TH ST. IMPROVEMENT/BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN/ STAIRWAY AND WAITING ROOM FRAMING (Drawing 13 of 16)
38. Photocopy of original plan (on file at City of New York Department of Ports, International Trade, and Commerce) no date CONTRACT 1519/CITY OF NEW YORK/DEPARTMENT OF DOCKS AND FERRIES/ FREIGHT SHED/ W. 55TH ST. IMPROVEMENT/BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN/ WATER SUPPLY AND HEATING (Drawing 16 of 16)


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