Volume 17 • Issue 3 | June 11 - 17, 2004

Schedule of General Slocum commemoration events

There will be numerous observances and commemoration events in the next few days to mark the 100th anniversary of the General Slocum disaster. Here’s a sample:

Sat., June 12, 9 a.m. — Circle Line boat trip (with continental breakfast), leaving from the South Street Seaport, will retrace the Slocum’s voyage up the East River. Meeting with a flotilla of harbor craft for a waterborne wreath-laying ceremony off North Brother Island where the ship burned, hosted by the SUNY-Maritime Industrial Museum. This is a rare opportunity to go near North Brother Island, which is normally off limits to the public. “The Department of Environmental Protection maintains it as a private bird sanctuary,” said Karen Lamberton, one of the organizers of the Slocum Centennial Committee. “It’s a place for birds to rest and nest. If you get close to the island, marine police will shoo you away.” Tickets are $35 and must be purchased in advance. For reservations, call SUNY-Maritime Industry Museum, 718- 409-7218.

Sat., June 12, 10 a.m. — Wreath-laying ceremony at the Memorial Obelisk, erected in 1905 to honor the 61 unidentified dead, in the Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery, Middle Village, Queens, where most of the Slocum victims are buried, followed by an ecumenical memorial service and buffet luncheon at Trinity Lutheran Church, also in Middle Village. Contact Ken Leib at 516-781-8925, or lazerken@aol.com.

Sat., June 12, 5:00 p.m. — Panel discussion with Slocum family descendents and buffet supper, co-hosted by Zion St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and Seafarers and International House, held at the church, 339 E. 84th St. For information, call 212-288-0600, or info@zionstmarks.com.

Sun., June 13, 9:00 a.m. — Unveiling and dedication of a plaque to be placed on the former St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (now the Community Synagogue) at 323 E. Sixth St. Procession through the streets of the former Little Germany neighborhood to Tompkins Sq. Park for the annual memorial service at the monument. Information, SUNY-Maritime Industry Museum at 718-409-7218, or Frank Duffy, chairman of the Centennial Memorial Committee, Helo98@aol.com.

Sun., June 13, 11 a.m. — Memorial worship service in German at Zion St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 339 E. 84th St. Church historian Cathy Jolowicz will be available to help the descendents research family history and translate documents. For information, contact the church at 212-288-0600.

Tues., June 15, 10 a.m. — Opening of the exhibit “The General Slocum and Little Germany,” at the New-York Historical Society, 2 W. 77th St., 212-873-3400, www.nyhistory.org. Historical objects, including the Slocum’s ship lantern, family scrapbooks, period photographs and memorabilia from survivors, such as the dress worn to the first annual memorial service by Adella Liebenow Wotherspoon, the shoes of her drowned sister and materials from her parents’ testimony at Captain Van Schaick’s trial. Photographs show the unseaworthy life preservers failing a water test, the burning hulk of the paddle wheeler and the scorched lifeboats still attached to the deck. Through Aug. 22.

Also on Tues., June 15, at the Historical Society — Premiere of “Fearful Visitation: The Great New York Steamboat Fire of 1904,” a documentary film by Hank Linhart and Phil Dray. It will air later in June on WNYC television.

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