The Jane Hotel Plays A Part In Titanic History

by Georgia Bobley · April 13, 2012

    Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and there has been no shortage of ways to remember the historic event. In addition to the re-release of Titanic the movie in 3D, a reenactment cruise of the luxury liner left Southampton, England earlier this week, and is retracing the original route of that the Titanic took, including a visit to the spot in the Atlantic where the boat sank.

    But like the ship whose journey it's honoring, the Titanic Memorial Cruise got off to an ominous start. Passengers dressed in period clothing-- many of whom had relatives who were aboard the 1912 ship--departed for a week of lectures and events about the Titanic, but just a day into the trip the boat was forced to turn around and dock at a port on the Irish Coast so that a sick passenger could be airlifted to a nearby hospital. When the ship finally set sail again, they were delayed due to poor weather conditions.

    [Jane Hotel in 1910, photo via]

    But despite the rocky start, it's been smooth sailing and after stopping at the spot in the Atlantic where the Titanic hit the iceberg, the ship will continue onto New York-- which was where the original Titanic was headed, and where many people who survived the shipwreck took refuge in the days after the accident.

    Though now The Jane Hotel is one of the city's best nightlife spots, it served a different purpose in 1912, when it was the temporary home to many of the Titanic's survivors. Then called the American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute, it made sense for survivors to stay here, according to Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation.

    [The Jane Hotel, photo via]

    "One of the identifying characteristics of the building is this wonderful octagonal tower in the corner which used to have a light beacon on top so it looked like a lighthouse, it both symbolically and practically was meant to be a place that sort of called out to sailors as a safe port. And in this case, it was a safe port for the crew members of the Titanic who were rescued from the disaster."

    On a recent Thursday, Titanic historians and other people who were interested in the Jane's role in the historic sinking gathered in the Jane Ballroom to learn more about the sailors who lived at the Jane in the weeks following the accident. More than 700 people were rescued from the Titanic and brought to New York through Pier 54, and now, 100 years later, the very spot that they called home is still part of New Yorker's lives.

    [Survivors at Pier 54 in 1912, photo via]

    [The Jane Hotel, 2011]