Queens Man Turns His Home Into A Shrine To The RMS Titanic
By: NY1 News
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On a stroll through Long Island City, Queens, you may stumble upon a homemade tribute to the Titanic. NY1’s Roger Clark paid a visit, and he talked with the man some call Titanic Joe.
It's like no other house on 11th Street. The front yard of one red brick townhouse is a shrine to one of the great tragedies of the 20th century, the sinking of the "unsinkable" ship, the RMS Titanic.
“They say it actually was the greatest ship ever built, and I really believe that,” says Joseph Colletti, Titanic Collector.
Colletti first became interested in it after seeing he film "Raise the Titanic." He started working on his tribute in 1984, 72 years after Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic.
More than 1,500 people were killed, and Colletti's collection of photos and models pays tribute to them. His home draws visitors and some surprises too, including a woman he found crying and praying outside one Sunday morning.
“I said, ÎMaam what's wrong? If something is wrong please tell me.’ She said, ÎI lost my girlfriend as a child on this ship,’” says Colletti.
If you think there is a lot of Titanic related items on the outside of Joe Colletti's house, wait till you see the inside, which is filled with movie posters, photos, and even correspondence with survivors of the doomed voyage.
Colletti developed relationships with a number of them through his involvement in the Titanic Historical Society.
“I just used to love to sit down with them over coffee and talk with them about their experiences, not just about Titanic, but their life, their accomplishments, and what they learned from Titanic,” he says.
Neighbors on Colletti's block have learned more about Titanic through his display, which occasionally slows down things a bit on 11th Street.
“The traffic that stops just to look at this, he holds up traffic here,” says neighbor Jo Montera.
For Colletti, that's a sign that people are still interested in the story of Titanic.
“I'm really pleased that so many years later, people still connect to it,” he says.
But I'm pretty sure few connect with it as much as Joe Colletti does.
- Roger Clark