This park was commemorated to Isidor and Ida Straus, two prominent New Yorkers who died aboard the Titanic. Isidor was a co-owner of Macy’s department store with his brother, and later served as a US Congressman. The Straus’ engaged in many philanthropic endeavors in health and education, making them beloved by New York City. They actually lived quite close to the park, on 105th Street. The couple perished, tragically, when the Titanic sunk after hitting an iceberg. Ida was offered the opportunity to evacuate the ship with women and children in lifeboats, but she refused, choosing not to separate from her husband even if it lead to death. The inscription on their monument alludes to their philanthropic works, and Ida’s choice to stay with Isidor:
Lovely and pleasant were they in their lives
And in their death they were not divided
II Samuel 1:23
Straus Park is quite small, but a good spot to have a rest outdoors. A garden and shrubbery borders the park, and a fountain and sculpture decorate the memorial.
My favorite aspect of the park is the allegorical sculpture of memory, represented by a woman gazing into a pool of water. Audrey Munson, a celebrated model during the early 1900s, served as the model for this sculpture. Munson posed for many public sculptures in NYC, earning her the nickname “Miss Manhattan.” You can see Munson depicting allegorical women throughout NYC, from the Manhattan Bridge to Penn Station.