Pier 54 was one of a set of piers running along the West Side of Manhattan from West 12th to 23rd Street that made up the Chelsea Piers that was completed in 1910. It was designed by the architectural firm of Warren and Wetmore, which also designed Grand Central Terminal. The piers replaced a hodgepodge of run-down waterfront structures with a row of grand buildings embellished with pink granite facades.
Components of the Chelsea Piers included the White Star Line in the north and the Cunard Line in the south. The Titanic was headed for Pier 59 (at about 18th Street).
Titanic and Lusitania
In April 1912 following the Titanic sinking the RMS Carpathia picked up survivors. The ship first went to the White Star piers where it discharged the Titanic's lifeboats that had been brought aboard before coming back to Pier 54 to discharge the passengers.
The pier continued luxury liner service until the 1930s when a luxury liner row was built between West 44th and West 52nd Street to handle larger liners.
In the 1980s plans were made to demolish it (and the rest of the Chelsea Piers) for the Westway highway. In 1991 the structure was torn down although it remained an open air pier and the entrance archway was preserved. A faded sign on the archway notes the name of the merged Cunard White Star line.
Hudson River Park
In 1998 it became part of the Hudson River Park. Plans call for the pier to be used to celebrate maritime events. During the summer months, Pier 54 hosts free movies and concerts, among other events.
Pier 54 was the site for MTV's reality television program Band in a Bubble in which a popular band (in this case, Cartel) is placed inside a large "bubble" enclosure where they write and record a new album in 20 days while under constant surveillance. Webcams placed strategically inside the building broadcast via internet live images of the band's movements and progress.