Library Of Congress
Library Of CongressPublic Domain ArchivePart of Not developed or endorsed by the Library of Congress
West 55th Street & West 56th Street Piers, Hudson River at West Fifty-fifth & West Fifty-sixth Streets, Manhattan, New York, New York County, NY

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



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.
Survey number: HAER NY-147
Building/structure dates: 19q1 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: ca. 1930- 1932 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1937-1939 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1942 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1949 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1953 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1962 Subsequent Work

The history of New York City's transportation system. New York City is distinguished from other U.S. cities for its low personal automobile ownership and its significant use of public transportation. New York is the only city in the United States where over half of all households do not own a car (Manhattan's non-ownership is even higher, around 75%; nationally, the rate is 8%). New York City has, by far, the highest rate of public transportation use of any American city. New York City also has the longest mean travel time for commuters (39 minutes) among major U.S. cities. The Second Industrial Revolution fundamentally changed the city – the port infrastructure grew at such a rapid pace after the 1825 completion of the Erie Canal that New York became the most important connection between all of Europe and the interior of the United States. Elevated trains and subterranean transportation ('El trains' and 'subways') were introduced between 1867 and 1904. Private automobiles brought an additional change for the city by around 1930, notably the 1927 Holland Tunnel.



Historic American Engineering Record, creator
Staniford, Charles E
Keller, T F
Lenke, M
Pennsyvania Steel Company
Snare & Triestee Company
Olvaney, William J
Thomas E. O'Brien Brothers
Teran, Mahoney, & Monroe
Murphy, J S
Navigazione Generale Italiana
Furness, Withy & Company, Limited
Titusville Iron Company
Berger, Norman, field team
Criscitello, Douglas, field team
Flagg, Thomas R, field team
Weinstein, Gerald, photographer
Raber, Michael S, historian


New York, United States40.72837, -74.00283
Google Map of 40.7283726, -74.002828


Library of Congress

Copyright info

No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted.

Library Of Congress

The objects in this archive are from Library of Congress - the nation’s first established cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with millions of items including books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library provides Congress, the federal government and the American people with a rich, diverse and enduring source of knowledge to inform, inspire and engage them and support their intellectual and creative endeavors.

Disclaimer: A work of the Library of Congress is "a work prepared by an officer or employee" of the federal government "as part of that person's official duties." In general, under section 105 of the Copyright Act, such works are not entitled to domestic copyright protection under U.S. law and are therefore in the public domain. This website is developed as a part of the world's largest public domain archive,, and not developed or endorsed by the Library of Congress,

Developed by GetArchive, 2015-2020