Hamburg-American Line Piers in Hoboken, NJ, ca. 1905
For many of HAPAG’s steamship passengers, New York City was just a stop along the way to their final destination. After docking, many newly-arrived immigrants needed to board western-bound trains to Chicago, St. Louis, or other Midwestern cities with large foreign-born populations. In New York, the process of getting immigrant travelers from ship to train was complicated by the fact that none of the western-bound railroads had terminuses in New York City. Rather, their stations were located across the Hudson River in New Jersey, meaning that western-bound travelers had to take ferries to catch their trains. This is one of the reasons why HAPAG built its piers in Hoboken, New Jersey, next to the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad station, and near the terminals for the Erie, Pennsylvania, and Central railroads in Jersey City and the terminal of the New York Central Railroad in Weehawken.