A Short History Of Straus Park
Ida and Isidor Straus lived in a frame house on 106th St. between Broadway and West End Avenue. Known for their kindness and generosity during their lives, they are now known for their devotion to each other in their deaths on the Titanic. On April 15, 1912, as the massive ship sank, Ida --- who could have boarded a lifeboat and saved her life --- chose to stay aboard rather than leave the side of her husband.
( In recent blockbuster film Ida is glimpsed calmly lying down on the bed next to Isidor
as the ship goes down.)
Two months after the tragedy, the Straus Memorial Committee was formed with the purpose of turning a triangular park called Bloomingdale Square into a memorial for the Strauses. Augustus Lukeman, sculptor,
and Everts Tracy, architect, designed the monument, granite bench, fountain and reflecting pool (now planted with flowers)
---all anoutright gift from the Memorial Committee. The park was dedicated on April 15, 1915, with Straus family members in attendance.
Around 1980,the West 106th St. Block Association adopted the park and, in cooperation with Parks Department, was involved with regular cleanups, plantings and general care for the area. But the years and the wear and tear left the park a wreck. After a 10 yearlobbying effort for general repair and restoration--- Thanks to Leon Aurebach---and with the help of the Parks Department and Manhattan Borough Preident's Office--- funds for expanding the park, repairing the statue and restoring the fountain were secured at last. The ground braking ceremony and ribbon cutting on April 15, 1997 (which is also the founding date of Friends of Straus Par).