Thu, 12 June 2014
On June 15, 1904, hundreds of residents of the Lower East Side's thriving German community boarded the General Slocum excursion steamer to enjoy a day trip outside the city. Most of them would never return home.
The General Slocum disaster is, simply put, one of the greatest tragedies in American history. Before September 11, 2001, it was the largest loss of life of any event that has ever taken place here.
This is a harrowing story, brutal and tragic. The fire that engulfed the ship near the violent waters of the Hell Gate gave the passengers a horrible choice -- die by fire or by drowning. In the end, over one thousand people would lose their lives over an horrific event that could have been easily prevented.
But in this tale are some surprising and even shocking stories of human survival, real stories of bravery and heroism.