On most days, Pier 54 in Manhattan is nothing more than a big slab of concrete jutting into the Hudson River at Little West 12th Street in the Meatpacking District. Sure, it was the site of the dragstravaganza known as Wigstock when that event grew too big for Tompkins Square Park in Alphabet City. (Population-wise, I mean–the gowns, wigs, heels, and many of the queens were and remain larger-than-life.) It still sometimes hosts outdoor dances, concerts, and movie screenings, and is often the home of joggers, frisbee-players, rehearsing marching bands, and sunbathers. Pier 54 also gained some infamy in the early 20th Century, being the pier to which survivors of the Titanic were brought in 1912 and, in 1915, from which the RMS Lusitania sailed off to meet her doom via German U-Boat.
None of this storied past is visible. There are no commemorative plaques dedicated to past glories. Instead, at the entrance stands this rusted Rube Goldberg machine, a far more fitting monument to the New York City waterfront’s former greatness.