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Titanic

WQXR Blog

Titanic Violin Sells for Over $1.6M at Auction

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A violin believed to have been played on the Titanic before the doomed vessel sank was auctioned for more than $1.6 million Saturday, a fantastic figure which one collector said may never be beaten.

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WQXR Blog

'Titanic Violin' Expected to Fetch $300,000 at Auction

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The violin believed to have been played by the bandleader as the Titanic sank is expected to fetch between $300,000 and $400,000 when it goes up for auction this weekend in Wiltshire, England.

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WQXR Features

'The Iceberg' Opera Drifts into Newark

Monday, April 01, 2013

On Sunday evening at the Park & Bark Arts Center in Newark, NJ I heard a performance of what is, without question, the most unusual opera I’ve ever heard.

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WQXR Blog

Violin That Was Played as Titanic Sank Found, Auction House Says

Friday, March 15, 2013

The violin played by the bandmaster of the Titanic as the oceanliner sank has been unearthed, a British auction house said Friday.

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Transportation Nation

100 Years Ago, Arrival of Ship Carrying Titanic Survivors Set Off Media Frenzy in NYC

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Popular illustration, titled "Arrival of the Ship of Sorrows," shows Titanic survivors disembarking in New York.

(New York, NY - WNYC) The sinking of the Titanic on April 15 in 1912 was the biggest news story of its day. But people on land had only the barest facts about the tragedy at sea until almost three days later, when more than 700 survivors reached New York on the steamer Carpathia. What followed was an unprecedented media frenzy.

The Carpathia had wireless communication with the shore but on its way to New York had sent only a trickle of news. After a couple of days, it was known that most of the passengers and crew on the Titanic had died — but not much beyond that.

A theory for the near-news blackout is that the White Star Line, which owned the Titanic, was trying to manage the story by shutting out the media.

For example, newspaperman Carlos Hurd, who worked for a Hearst paper in St. Louis, happened to be on the Carpathia. Hearst editors in New York sent frantic messages to him begging for news but the ship's crew intercepted them.

That left the public was frothing for details of the disaster. By the time the Carpathia arrived in the New York harbor on April 18 around 9:15 P.M., thousands of people were standing outside Pier 54 at West 13th Street on the Hudson River.

Many were family members of passengers who didn't know if their relatives were dead or alive. Reporters waded in and worked the crowd, interviewing relatives while waiting to catch survivors coming off the ship and record their memories while they were still visceral.

Meanwhile, out in the harbor, more than 50 tugboats jammed with journalists met the Carpathia in lower New York harbor. Reporters with megaphones yelled up at the ship, offering $50 or $100 for eyewitness accounts. Photographers' cameras lit up the side of the ship with flashes of magnesium powder.

This was before the rise of radio and movie reels, when newspapers ruled. It was also a Darwinian moment in the history of American journalism.

Mitchell Stephens, professor of journalism at NYU and author of The History of the News, says there were dozens of papers in multiple languages coming out three times a day in New York, with 'Extra' editions. "It was cutthroat competition between these newspapers for stories and to be first on the streets with stories,” he said. “So the streets were full of newspapers being hawked all day long."

Stephens added that the U.S. also had the highest per capita newspaper circulation in the world in the early 20th century. The fight was on to feed that audience. "Races for news were nothing new and packs of journalists were already starting to develop," he said.

Two of the heavyweights in the city were William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and the up-and-coming New York Times.

Carr Van Anda was the editor of The Times in 1912. He rented out the top floor of the Strand Hotel, now called the Liberty Inn, and set up a temporary newsroom to better cover the disaster. The hotel was just a block from Pier 54. Then Van Anda set his sites on interviewing the Titanic’s 22-year-old wireless operator, Harold Bride. He even paid Bride’s employer, Guglielmo Marconi, who was the inventor of the wireless, to make sure he got an exclusive interview.

Marconi sent a message to Bride on the Carpathia that read, “Stop. Say nothing. Hold your story for dollars in four figures.”

When Harold Bride got to New York, a Times reporter met him onboard and took down his istory. He then reported what he'd heard: that the band played on while the ship went down and that a stoker had broken into the wireless room and tried to steal Bride's lifejacket as the Titanic was sinking, forcing the operator to beat the stoker senseless.

As for Hearst man Carlos Hurd, he spent his trip on the Carpathia interviewing Titanic survivors and hiding his notes from the crew.

He wrote up his stories and put them in a cigar box rigged with Champagne corks as floats. When the ship reached the harbor, Hurd spotted a Hearst editor in a tugboat and hurled the cigar box into the water. The editor fished it out and rushed it back to the newsroom in Lower Manhttan. Before the Carpathia had docked, an 'Extra' edition of The New York World was on the street with the banner headline:

"Titanic Boilers Blew Up, Breaking Her In Two After Striking Berg."

Not quite as fast as the Internet, but fast. And accurate. And heartbreaking.

 

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Soundcheck

Marking the Titanic's Demise

Friday, April 13, 2012

The 100-year anniversary of the Titanic disaster is coming up on Sunday, April 15. WNYC Culture Editor Abbie Fentress Swanson has compiled a list of ways to mark the event in New York City, and she joins us with a few interesting suggestions for Soundcheck listeners.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

From the Archives: James Cameron and Bill Paxton on "Ghosts of the Abyss"

Friday, April 13, 2012

In April 2003, Leonard spoke to director James Cameron and actor-director-producer Bill Paxton about "Ghosts of the Abyss," a 3-D documentary that explores the wreck of the Titanic. They describe going down to the wreck in submersibles and filming inside the ship.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Please Explain: Deep Sea Exploration

Friday, April 13, 2012

David Gallo, Director of Special Projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, talks about the mission to map the Titanic wreck, and other underwater expeditions, such as the search for Air France flight 447. He explains how scientists explore the ocean and what they’ve found.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Why We Can’t Let Go of the Titanic

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Yorker contributor Daniel Mendelsohn talks about why the Titanic has such an enduring appeal, 100 years after its sinking. His article “Unsinkable: Why We Can’t Let Go of the Titanic” appears in the April 16 issue of The New Yorker.

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Soundcheck

Singing the Titanic Blues

Thursday, April 12, 2012

100 years ago today, the Titanic was in the midst of its ill-fated voyage across the Atlantic. As the centennial of the ship sinking disaster approaches, we listen back to songs inspired by the event - from Blind Willie Johnson's "God Moves On The Water" to the Dixon Brothers' "Down With The Old Canoe." Joining us to discuss is Grammy-winning engineer and producer of the "People Take Warning" compilation set, Christopher King.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Christine Quinn on Her Grandmother, Titanic Survivor

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn talks about her grandmother, Helen Shine Callaghan, who survived the Titanic. Callaghan was 20 when she was coming over from Belfast, one of only 40 Irish Titanic survivors who would make it to America.

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Slate Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest, The Unsinkable Edition

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Slate critics Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner discuss the 3D re-release of Titanic, the death of artist Thomas Kinkade, and stupid video games with Sam Anderson of the New York Times.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Titanic Belfast

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Niall O'Donnghaile, Lord Mayor of Belfast, discusses Belfast’s commemoration of the 100anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Between the years 1909 and 1911, Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard completed construction on the RMS Titanic. Belfast is remembering this tremendous vessel with the opening of a new museum, the Titanic Belfast.

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The Takeaway

Did a Mirage Sink the Titanic?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The sinking of the Titanic has long been considered a colossal human failure — a preventable disaster caused largely by ineptitude and misjudgement. A new theory from one British Titanic historian, however, suggests that highly unusual weather conditions are to blame instead. Tim Matlin is the author of three books about the Titanic. His latest, "Titanic: A Very Deceiving Night," argues that icy waters created ideal conditions for a rare type of oceanic mirage that hid icebergs from lookouts and confused would-be rescuers observing from a nearby ship.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Unseen Titanic

Monday, April 09, 2012

Hampton Sides, author of the article “Unseen Titanic,” in National Geographic’s April issue, and Dr. James Delgado, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) archaeologist who was part of an expedition down to the Titanic, discuss the new technologies that have revealed the most complete—and most intimate—images of the famous wreck.

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The Takeaway

MS Balmoral Retraces the Path of the Titanic

Monday, April 09, 2012

The MS Balmoral set sail from Southampton on Sunday, the same place where the Titanic set sail 100 years ago. The ship is retracing the path of the RMS Titanic for the centennial memorial of its sinking. Chris Buckler, correspondent for our partner the BBC, is on board the MS Balmoral.

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Talk to Me

The Jane Hotel's Connection to the Titanic Draws a Crowd

Monday, April 09, 2012

New York City has no shortage of sites that have a direct connection to the Titanic. One of them is the Jane Hotel, where the Titanic's surviving sailors went for a memorial service in 1912. Check out our map of this and other Titanic landmarks in New York City.

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Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts: From the Carpathia

Monday, April 09, 2012

This April 15 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, a maritime calamity that has resonated throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, inspiring hundreds of books and famous films like “A Night To Remember” and James Cameron’s hugely successful “Titanic,” which has just been re-released in 3-D. Most of these stories focus on the experiences of the passengers, but this special webcast offers a different perspective, in a micro fiction by Jesse Lee Kercheval.

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Transportation Nation

100 Years After She Sank, Titanic Continues To Fascinate

Monday, April 02, 2012

'The Sinking of the Titanic' appeared in a July 1946 issue of Esquire Magazine. This painting is by Harper Goff.

(New York, NY, Abbie Swanson, WNYC) The Titanic tragedy that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 and stunned the world still captivates audiences 100 years after the largest so-called unsinkable steamer collided with an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank into the ocean depths.

The details of the disaster have been revisited in countless articles and a dozen movies, including "A Night to Remember" and James Cameron's 1997 "Titanic," which is being re-released in 3D on Wednesday.

The sinking of the New York City-bound steamer off the coast of Newfoundland on April 15, 1912, continues to intrigue because it is epic, according to Paul Heyer, who wrote Titanic Century: Media, Myth and the Making of a Cultural Icon.

"It has a kind of tragic ore to it that we find in the Bible, Greek drama, Shakespeare, novels such as Moby Dick," he said. "It’s almost as if all these themes in literature have come to life in a real historical event."

Charles Haas, author of several books on the ship, recalls learning about the Titanic from his grandfather, with whom he would watch giant ocean liners float through the New York Harbor.

For a whole lot more on the Titantic, click here.

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Features

12 Ways to Commemorate the Titanic Centennial

Monday, April 02, 2012

There are a number of happenings in the Tri-State area that mark the Titanic centennial. Among our favorites: meals recreating White Star Line menus, plays based on ship survivor testimonials and artifact exhibitions. Here's a shortlist of goings-on.

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