South Street Seaport: Back to Life with a Price?

| 02 Mar 2015 | 05:01

The South Street Seaport was hit massively by Hurricane Sandy last year, and the re-building has been slow. See/Change was a massive effort this summer to bring the Seaport back to life, after almost being wiped out. An entire street block in front of the Seaport was closed off this summer, and turned into an open air market with vendors, movie nights and other events. Smorgasburg, the popular flea market in Williamsburg, opened up shop this summer with a smaller version of the original flea market, called Smorgasbar at South Street Seaport.

Pier 15, along the East River Esplanade, officially opened two years ago, and slowly but surely, new businesses have been added to the pier, where this summer, reclining chairs as well as park benches have created a social and sunbathing spot, as well as a shopping area. Ro Sheffe, of Community Board 1 said that there will be a new sightseeing vessel at the pier, which will take visitors to Liberty Island.

"This rebuilding is great, but Pier 17 is a different story," said Sheffe.

Now that the summer is winding down, Howard Hughes Corporation is planning on shutting down the devastated pier, and completely re-building it into a "dining, shopping and entertainment venue." The construction will begin this fall and Howard Hughes spokespeople claim that they are working with the neighborhood to ensure the survival of small businesses, which will be closed during construction.

"I'm hoping the businesses will come back at Pier 17 because if they don't, we will lose the character of the seaport," said Sheffe. "Then it becomes nothing more than an outdoor shopping mall."