Thursday, August 30, 2018



                                                                      (Isidor Straus )


We have been going to Straus park quite often  for our  evening walks .Located  at  upper Manhattan  on Broadway (where it crosses  street  No 107)  , This  .0.44 Acre Park has flower beds, shady trees and ornamental plants apart from  benches arranged by Friends of Straus Park Society . This society maintains the Park. As the  underground metro train station lies just below the Park , free WiFi provided by MTA in New York  is readily available for  visitors to this Park. KFC outlet is just across the road. Eden Garden Fruit store( that sells a variety of fresh fruits and juices)  is also close by .

There is an impressive  Bronze Statue of a woman  in reclining posture inside the park   . I asked a  regular local visitor about the details of this sculpture and  he said:
" Do you You know  the Titanic sinking in Atlantic ? She is the Great Lady Ida Straus.  Jewish immigrants. One time Owners of Macy's Store  Chain .The Straus family had their spacious house near this park. The statute was done by well known Sculptor Lukeman and was installed in 1915 A.D. Very old now. I have been coming to this Park since 1970."

And that made me to visit Macy's store on  Harold Square  (34th street  ) again  and  seek more details.


The straus family  moved to America from Baveria ( Germany)  in 1854 and settled in Georgia. After the  American civil war, they shifted permanently to New York.
 Ida Blun Straus   was a daring  lady. Her husband Isidor Straus was the  major co-owner of  Macy's store (  Biggest  store) in New York at that time  They were married in 1871. They were an ideal  couple . Both were involved in many philanthropic  activities and  connected to many Charity organizations. Rarely the husband and wife  spent a day away from each other.

The husband and wife were on a tour of  Europe and were returning to New york in SS  Titanic that sank in Atlantic on 15th April 1912( on its maiden journey ) . The ship hit  an iceberg and more than 1500 passengers and Crew members died in this Disaster.

On the night of the disaster, as the call to board the lifeboats went out, Isidor escorted Ida to Lifeboat and prepared to say goodbye to her. Ida, however, refused to enter the small boat, saying, “We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go.” Several other first- class passengers tried to convince Ida to board but she could not be swayed. Instead,  she sent her newly hired maid from England, Ellen Bird, to the  lifeboat.  Initially,  The loyal maid   hesitated to move to the life Boat  . Ida gave her fur coat to Ellen, saying that she won’t need it anymore.

The Strauses were last seen seated side by side on Titanic's deck..

   It was testified ( before a commission of Inquiry )  by a  surviving  passengers and one crew member later that while they were moving ladies out from the sinking ship to safety boats, Ida decided not to move and stayed in the company of her husband on the deck of sinking ship. Ida and her husband sank together sitting on their Chairs on the deck of Titanic.

Isidor’s body was recovered  but the  funereal service  was delayed for a few days in the hopes that Ida’s body might too be recovered, allowing the two who had lived and died together to also share a funeral—but Ida’s body was never found.

This touching memorial is frequented by many visitors  .Sculpture of Ida Straus  (Bronze)  in reclining posturre  has been  done by well known Sculptor  Augustus Lukeman.If you  look at the large wall behind this sculpture ,you can  read an inscription from the Old Testament’s Book of Samuel:    it states :

 “In Memory of Isidor and Ida Straus.  Lovely and Pleasant Were they in their Lives.  And in Their Death They Were Not Divided.    Isidor honored the unwritten and now lost tradition of “women and children first” and Ida,  in a world,  not unlike today,  where commitments were often brief and fragile"
  “Entreat me not to leave you…for where thou goest,  I will go; and where thou lodgest,  I will lodge…and where thou diest, I will die;   and there I will be buried”.

A plaque of husband and wife is prominently displayed at  the inner side of the main entrance to Macy's store  . Macy's has so many wonderful and historical stories connected with it . That is why so many  Tourists and inquisitive  people  visit Macy's store.

(Avtar Mota)

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