February 1911, Greenwich Village. This is New York in a new century, a kaleidoscope of tenements flush with hopeful emigrants – Jewish, Italian, Irish, Poles, Russians – all having fled the old tyrannies of Europe, all unaware that an unspeakable tragedy looms.
The neighborhood in winter provides a snow-dusted backdrop for a searing love story entangling three young lives: Esther, a beautiful, idealistic seamstress from the shtetls of Eastern Poland; Ben, a boyish rabbinical student to whom she has been betrothed by their families; and Jimmy, a tough but conflicted Irish cop, who falls in love with Esther in violation of every tenet of their cultures.
As Esther and her friends strain against old traditions and family expectations in their romantic lives, tensions simmer at the high-rise sweatshop where Esther works; the fearless women of the garment workers union demand better pay and working conditions from ruthless management. Meanwhile, Esther discovers a passion with Jimmy she never knew was possible. She’s torn: should she marry Benjamin and accept the plans others have made for her? Or should she pursue the freedom and new possibilities that Jimmy’s love offers?
Unfortunately, Esther’s crisis culminates on the same day conflict boils over at the factory: March 25, 1911, the very day the Triangle Shirtwaist Company becomes the scene of a deadly conflagration, the worst industrial accident in American history.
Esther, Jimmy, Ben and countless others are trapped in the building on that day of fire, horror, but ultimately – change.
Triangle by Academy Award Nominated screenwriter Stephen J. Rivele is a portrait of a time and place, of young immigrants’ struggles and dreams of love, greed, desire, and of a tragedy that changed America forever.