This Day in New York History, April 20

April 20, 2011 Updated: April 20, 2011

1783 Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York Holds First Meeting

The Chamber of Commerce, which first convened on April 20, 1783, would proceed to build the infrastructure that drove economic growth, making New York the commercial and financial center it is today. They helped lay the first transatlantic cable, build the aqueducts that carry drinking water to the city from the Catskills to this day, and establish the Erie Canal.

Many of the city's big names were connected with the chamber over the years, such as Astor, Morgan, Edison, and Rockefeller. David Rockefeller founded the New York City Partnership in 1979 and affiliated it with the chamber. This allowed business leaders to work more closely with the government, and other civic groups to address broader social and economic issues.

1912 Titanic Survivors Land at Chelsea Piers

The Titanic was scheduled to dock at Chelsea Piers on April 16, 1912. On April 14, the ship collided with the iceberg that sunk the “unsinkable.” On April 20, 1912, the surviving 675 passengers arrived at Pier 54 on the Cunard liner “Carpathia.” The other 1,525 passengers did not return to land after setting off on the ship's maiden voyage.

The pier at W. 14th Street on the Hudson River was demolished in 1992 due to physical decline. A steel arch remains on which the words “Cunard Line” can still be made out.