Of the three of us who boarded the Titanic today, only one survived.
For the last few months, the Discovery TSX Center near Times Square in Manhattan has been the site of an exhibit of artifacts recovered from the iceberg-damned luxury liner by the Ballard expeditions of the last two decades. “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” closes at the end of February, so we decided to spend a day of Winter Break examining the finds.
The Discovery Center is the old New York Times building and the cavernous exhibit center once held the paper’s printing machines. It has been tricked out to replicate many areas of the ship from first- and third-class cabins to the Grand Staircase. Alas, you can’t get your picture taken there with Leonardo DiCaprio. Mixed in with the replicas are items recovered from the wreck, bits of engine machinery and crockery and even a bathroom sink. The items on display were part of the 5,500 pieces recovered during a series of dives to the wreck that have spanned the last two decades. (While the Titanic was generally viewed as the most luxurious ship of its day, a group of cruise vacationers around me were of the opinion that today’s liners have better amenities.)
When you enter the exhibit, you are given a boarding pass with details on one of the ship’s passengers. From time to time, we spotted a placard with more information on our passengers and, at the end, we were able to find out if they survived or perished. Whether by accident or design, the survival rate of our group pretty much matched that of the passengers on the actual ship: Only 31.8% of the 2,223 passengers made it to New York.
If you are going to the show, you should strongly consider buying your tickets in advance from the exhibit’s Web site or by calling (866) 987-9692. That will save you an hour of waiting with fidgety children, the better part of it outside in the cold. Tickets are a bit pricey–$17.50 for children age 4 to 12 and $19.50 for adults–but I’ve seen coupons at several locations around town that drop the price to $15. There is also a combo ticket that includes both the Titanic exhibit and the marvelously interactive “Leonardo Da Vinci’s Workshop” that is going on at the same location. Those tickets range from $29.94 for children to $37.56 for adults, a 25% savings over buying the tickets individually.
Need more ideas for budget-friendly Winter Break activities? Click on the blue logo above.