The Straus Memorial in New York City


May 12, 2005
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I am cataloging my somewhat imposing collection of magazines and am continually amazed at all the little bits and pieces of the "Titanic" story that pop out.

So here is an arts review, again from "Vogue" magazine (June 1, 1915):

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...In addition to more or less temporary benefits, the city has recently been permanently enriched by the unveiling of the beautiful Straus memorial fountain, designed by Augustus Lukeman and erected in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus, who lost their lives in the "Titanic" disaster.

Mr. Lukeman has met here the difficult problem of a monument in a small park surrounded by towering buildings - a situation in which height could give nothing of impressiveness to the memorial. He has wisely selected a scheme in which all the emphasis is upon the horizontal lines and even the figure reclines instead of rising to challenge comparison with the surrounding height.

There is about this memorial fountain a dignity and serene beauty, an entire absence of effort or striving for effect, which place it among the finest of the monuments which have been erected in New York. The architectural setting of gray granite, on a design of extreme simplicity and rubbed to a soft dull polish, is an excellent foil for the bronze figure of "Memory" - considerably over life-size - looking out over the water, lost in thought so deep that every muscle of the body is relaxed and life seems concentrated in the head and the supporting hands.

As is characteristic of Mr. Lukeman's work, the treatment is broad, straight-forward, and simple; there is no insistence upon detail and no hint of prettiness. The unconventional pose is clearly understood and convincingly rendered, the modeling firm and sensitive, and the resulting beauty is of finely monumental quality...

(caption for photo 1): In the small park at Broadway and One hundred and Sixth Street, which has been named Straus Park, was recently unveiled a memorial to Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus, designed by Augustus Lukeman.

(caption for photo 2): The bronze figure of "Memory" dominates the Straus memorial fountain, looking down across the still pool below and pondering the eternal mysteries of love and death.

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These photos along with those of the Frank Millet house, I'm sending to editor-supreme Hind so everybody can see. They're really moving I think.
 
J

James Philip Scribner

Guest
I've been around that area of New York City before but don't recall any "Straus Park". Is it still there? If not. why not?
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Hi James,

The park at Broadway and 106th Street is not officially named "Straus Park" but you can certainly still visit the Straus memorial fountain situated in the center of it.

Another interesting note about the Strauses. My old accounting firm was located on East 94th Street in Manhattan. I never took notice of the public school located on Third Avenue between 95th and 96th Streets. The front of the school is named "The Isidor and Ida Straus School". When I visited the school one afternoon, I saw the memorial tablet located in the lobby - hence another Straus memorial that nobody, to my knowledge, ever heard of.

Mike Findlay
 
R

Robert J. Meyer

Guest
Hello Mike,

Do you know what that tablet reads?....I was just curious if it reads similar to the one I have which adorned the Macy's Herald Square store for many years.

Thanks!
Bob
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Hi Bob,

Off hand, I don't recall the inscription on the Straus school plaque but I will find out and e-mail you privately. I didn't have my camera with me on the day I visited but I can make a quick trip uptown to find out. The school is located between 95th and 96th Streets on Third Avenue in Manhattan.

Mike Findlay
 
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Robert J. Meyer

Guest
Thanks Mike!

I look forward to your reply!....very interesting!

I wonder how many of these plaques are out there???

Bob
 

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