Sunday is the 101st anniversary of the Triangle Factory Fire. (I have written many times of my obsession with the fire. Josie and I will once again be participating in CHALK.) Here’s a look at some of this year’s memorial activities.
On Friday, the city’s unions will honor the day with their annual commemoration at the former location of the factory: the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street, a block east of Washington Square Park. Starting at noon there will be music by union members, speakers, and the ceremony in which children, volunteers and family members of the victims recite the names of all 146 victims and create a mound of long-stemmed roses, one for each victim, as the Fire Marshal tolls an old bell. The fire department raises a ladder against the building (now an NYU science department building), up to the highest height it could reach back in 1911. It’s horrifying and moving, to see — and viscerally feel — how inadequate the safeguards were back then. The fire is why fire trucks have longer ladders today.
There’s an art project that occurs just before the ceremony: A parade of 146 shirtwaists (the blouses made by the factory workers) on long poles, with sashes bearing the names of the victims. Marchers will carry the shirts to the ceremony site. If you want to march, meet at the corner of Greene and 4th Streets by 10:15am. For more info, email 146TriangleProcession [at] gmail.com.
On Sunday, Triangle researcher Michael Hirsch will be leading a memorial visit to the graves of the victims buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery and Calvary Cemetery in Queens. A number of Triangle family members will be there. Hirsch, who helped uncover and restore the overgrown graves of many of the victims, will meet interested walkers at 11:30 AM in front of the office near Mt Zion’s main gate. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes. There are 77 victims interred in the two cemeteries, so you can roam and meditate and grieve and ponder. For more info, contact Michael at Michael Hirsch bouwerieboy [at] gmail.com.