Gateway to the World: The Hudson River and the Golden Age of Ocean Liners

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM


Tuesday, July 16, 2024 
6:00 pm 
Pre-registration required 

Location: Jefferson Market Library, 425 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011

Today reborn as a beautiful site for recreation after decades of decay, but over a hundred years ago the Hudson River waterfront was the place where New York cemented its place as one of the world’s greatest cities. Cargo, commuters, and international passengers jostled with dock workers, freighters, ferries, railroads, and giant ocean liners. Those ocean liners brought millions of migrants to the country, with thousands settling in Greenwich Village and the East Village. The immigrants traveled not just across the North Atlantic but across multiple borders coordinated by train and steamship over an integrated transportation network built by the shipping companies of the time, which were then some of the largest corporations in the world.

Join Village Preservation’s Director of Programming, William Roka, as he explores how the Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, Ukrainian, and Spanish immigrants made it to our neighbors, turning them into microcosms of a country undergoing a dramatic change in the late 19th and early 20th century. 

About the Speaker

William Roka is the Director of Programming at Village Preservation. He is also an independent historian and writer. His research has focused on the history of travel and ocean liners in the early 20th century and has presented at conferences in the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, and across the United States. Additionally, he was the historian and public programs manager at the South Street Seaport Museum from 2016-2018 and worked at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, from 2018-2021, as a program coordinator on their Hamilton Education Program and as the host of the highly successful digital book talk program Book Breaks. He studied history at University College London and international relations at King’s College London.

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