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    South Street Seaport: New York's old port district

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    Joel Fulleda

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    Founded around 1625, when the first pier was built there by a Dutch shipping company, since then the expansion of South street seaport it was continuous, while maintaining the features of the era. No skyscraper or very modern building, but rather a skilful recovery of pre-existing structures, artfully renovated, which today house homes, shops, night clubs, restaurants. A visit to this district allows you to take a dip in the history of New York, however relatively recent it is.

    Not particularly popular with tourists in the past, South Street Seaport has risen to popular honors as a result of numerous locations of scenes in successful movie as I Am Legend, with Will Smith, Godzilla, Mom I flew the plane, I got lost in New York and Gangs of New York, to name but a few. Without forgetting, then, that this neighborhood served as an open-air scenography for the first version of the video of In Bloom by Nirvana, welcoming Kurt Cobain and Co. However, recent history aside, here there is a lot to admire and discover, and what awaits you tells of a much older glorious past.


    • Where is it and how to get there
    • What to do and see
      • South street seaport museum
      • Historic buildings in South Street Seaport
      • Fulton Stall Market
      • Pier 17
      • Titanic Memorial
      • Wavertree Boat, Pier 16
      • Old John Street Church
    • Where to eat
      • The Paris Cafe
      • 10 Corso Como Cafe
      • Lobster Gogo
      • Mister C. Seaport and the Bellini Restaurant
    • Accomodation

    Where is it and how to get there

    Manhattan neighborhood, South street seaport it is located at the confluence of Fulton Street and the East River, very close to the Financial District, in Lower Manhattan. To reach it you have to take the Fulton Street underground station as a reference, served by the following lines: A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5.

    To better orient you, I refer you to our guide on how to use the subway in New York

    What to do and see

    South street seaport museum

    Where it all began, in New York City. This is the slogan of the Museum that has set itself as an objective the historical story of the birth of a port metropolis. Housed in renovated historic buildings, the South Street Seaport Museum showcases merchant ships, interactive exhibits and sensory experiences to the delight of young and old.

    The strengths of this museum complex are also paintings, drawings, photographs, navigation instruments and numerous historical objects linked both to the commercial and maritime function once covered by the district, and to historical figures who lived and worked in this suburb. The entrance ticket to the museum costs $ 20 for adults and is free for children up to 8 years of age.

    Not to be missed is the possibility of combining the museum ticket with a ride on the Pioneer, the first merchant sailing vessel of the time to be built in iron rather than wood. In addition to the historical tour, on the Pioneer you also have the opportunity to receive interesting information on the sea, on the skills needed to drive a vessel and many other goodies. The navigation, perfect for adults and loved by children, takes about 2 hours. The joint ticket costs $ 42 for adults and $ 28 for children under nine. The South Street Seaport Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am to 17pm. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. If you wish to take a tour on the vessel, you must book in advance.

      • Dove: 12 Fulton St., New York City

    Historic buildings in South Street Seaport

    The neighborhood is the place to go hunting for historic buildings, testimony to the maritime past of this port district. Here are some interesting stops to include in a walking itinerary:

    Schermerhorn Row

    The Schermerhorn Row block was built in 1811 and was used as an accounting office first and for commercial activities thereafter. In 1847 it became the seat of the Sweet’s Seafood House, one of the most acclaimed and oldest specialty seafood restaurants in all of New York and, later, home to a prestigious hotel, now closed.

    After several restyling works, these ancient red brick buildings in typical Greek-revival style they host both art galleries (with a maritime theme, of course) and apartments that retain some original elements inside.

    • Where: The block of buildings runs along Fulton Street, from Front Street to South Street.

    Cannon’s Walk

    It is incredible to think that these buildings once housed simple warehouses for the storage of goods. Set behind South Street Seaport and originally directly on the waterfront, before the area was redeveloped and the land took hold of the waters, Cannon's Walk is one of the best preserved historic hidden corners of New York.

    Home to a shop, a charming bar and even a tiny museum, Cannon's Walk is an area open to the public, with an incredible inner courtyard in which to sip, away from the crowds, a drink or simply buy a souvenir before heading back to other discoveries.

    • Dove: 206 Front Street, New York City.

    “The Rat Pit” Joseph Rose House

    Absolutely one of the most beautiful historic homes in New York, built in Georgian style, the home of Captain Joseph Rose is one of the three oldest buildings in the metropolis, as well as the oldest in South Street Seaport (it dates back to 1733). Despite being owned by Rose, the Captain being often away for the mahogany trade by sea, he rented it to Christopher "Kit" Burns, who converted it into a tavern, also making it infamous for the rat and dog fights he organized there. regular.

    Over time, the misfortunes of this house continued. As in 1904, the year in which a fire completely destroyed the third floor, and in 1974, when a second fire occurred which completely destroyed the interior of the house. Two years later it was seized by the Municipality for unpaid taxes and remained abandoned for about 20 years. Repurchased at the end of the 90s, today the home of Joseph Rose has returned to its former glory and has been divided into 4 luxurious apartments.

    • Dove: 273 Water Street, New York City

    Fulton Stall Market

    Open every day from 11.30am to 18pm, this market is a must visit! With numerous stalls of fresh local products, including fish, fruit, vegetables, delicious jams, cheese jams, organic juices and much more, here you can savor genuine flavors, despite being in an immense metropolis. Ideal to make us one stop for lunch, perhaps ordering a vegetable soup or sandwiches filled with the best cured meats of the region. If you happen to be there on Sunday, you will be able to appreciate the organic touch and KM 0 products directly on the waterfront, between Pier 17 and the South Street Seaport Museum.

    Pier 17

    Pier 17 deserves a special (and separate) mention. Because the description of "city that never sleeps" is also perfectly suited to this pier. A lively forge of clubs, restaurants, lounge bars and places of artistic and cultural interest, Pier 17 in New York has its own particular charm. Not only for its centennial history, but also for that mysterious and "illegal" aura that, even today, you can breathe there. In fact, it was in this area that most of the illegal gambling dens and outlaw distilleries of the Big Apple were located.

    All illegal activities that were carried out inside the anonymous red brick buildings that, even today, cover this district with spartan beauty. And which today host, on the other hand, shops, clubs and businesses that are often open 24 hours a day. Especially in summer, Pier 17 comes alive with concerts, events under the stars, photographic exhibitions, light installations and cultural happenings, often sold-out.

    Finally, we should not forget the wide and varied eno-gastronomic proposal that ranges from international cuisine to the best proposals of seafood and land specialties.

    • Curiosity: some of the most beautiful historic ships in all of America are docked at Pier 17. From tugboat Decker, built entirely of wood in 1930 and part of the South Street Seaport Museum, ei Ambrose and Pioneer sailing ships (the latter, as already mentioned, available for interesting historical excursions).
    • Dove: 89 South St., New York City

    Titanic Memorial

    The history of the Titanic is known, what perhaps is not known is that in the Big Apple there are numerous memorials dedicated to the cruise ship that was supposed to dock in New York, but never arrived there. One of these is located right at the intersection of Fulton Street and Pearl Street. Shaped like a lighthouse and featuring a time ball, about 18 meters high, this memorial was erected in 1913 and later donated to the South Street Seaport Museum.

    • Curiosity: the construction of this temple in memory of the victims of the Titanic was strongly desired by Margaret (Molly) Brown, a passenger on the Titanic who was saved from sinking only after saving as many human lives as possible.
    • Where: 4 blocks east from the Fulton Street subway stop.

    Wavertree Boat, Pier 16

    Built in England in 1885, this boat was, for the time, one of the largest sailboats manufactured with an iron hull. After decades of honorable career plying the seas, the ship landed in New York, purchased by an American citizen for the South Street Seaport Museum and completely refurbished. Today this huge historic boat can be visited, alone or together with the museum to which it belongs, as well as being rented for exclusive private events on board.

    Old John Street Church

    Methodist church, this building was built in 1841, features a typical Georgian style and is the seat of the oldest Methodist congregation in North America. Originally, the first chapel erected here was built in 1768 and it was a small granary used for religious celebrations. Today the church is "wedged" between much taller and more imposing buildings and houses, in the crypt, a very interesting small museum where you can admire clocks still in perfect working order dating back to the end of the 700th century, old books, the original balustrade from 1785, the ancient pulpit and other period wonders. The museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12 to 17.

    • Dove: 44 John Street, New York City.

    Where to eat

    The Paris Cafe

    Opened in 1873, this venue is one of the oldest (still in business) throughout New York. Open for lunch, dinner, an aperitif and Sunday brunch, here you can enjoy fresh dishes, prepared with seasonal ingredients, accompanied by local beers or wines from all over the world. The most popular specialties on the menu are i dishes based on the catch of the day, which ranges from clams to squid, from salmon to shrimp. All embellished with a wonderful view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Cost of lunch, per person and drinks not included, from $ 30. The Paris Cafe is open every day.

    • Dove: 119 South Street, New York City

    10 Corso Como Cafe

    Yes, that's exactly what everyone knows because it was opened in Milan by the famous publisher Carla Sozzani: the same concept, the same class and elegance, the same unmissable mix of art, design, architecture. This chic South Street Seaport address packs in experiences such as culture, fashion, music and top gastronomy.

    Open for lunch, dinner and brunch, the specialties offered are dedicated to Italian tradition and even the menu speaks our language. What dishes to order? Pasta alla Norma and Pollo al Mattone (cooked roast, with peppers and aubergines). The cost of dinner, per person and drinks not included, starts at $ 52. The restaurant is open every day at different times: Monday from 11.30 to 21.00, from Tuesday to Friday from 11.30 to 22, Saturday from 11.00 to 22.00 and Sunday from 11.00 to 21.00.

    • Dove: 1 Fulton Street, New York City

    Lobster Gogo

    Anyone who thinks that the concept of fast food cannot be applied to sublime lobsters and fish-based dishes will have to think again. The Lobster Gogo, open for over 80 years in the South Street Seaport District, has been able to put together its own seemingly opposite ideas. Suitable for those who want to delight in fresh flavors, but without wasting too much time, here you can order rolls, sandwiches, toast and salads, all strictly based on lobsters, shrimps, crab ... The prices, then, are really small and start from 15 $. The restaurant is open every day, with the following times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11.30 to 19, Friday from 11.30 to 20 and Sunday from 11.30 to 17.

    • Dove: 190 Front Street, New York City

    Mister C. Seaport and the Bellini Restaurant

    New unpublished address for a metropolis like New York, il Mr. C. Hotel is an elegant and refined boutique hotel in the heart of South Street Seaport. Inside, the brightest pearl of the structure is the Bellini Restaurant which, like the hotel, speaks the language of the Cipriani family. Not only the best tradition of the Bel Paese in terms of hospitality and gourmand dishes, but also an unparalleled view of the Brooklyn Bridge and an interior design that combines exclusivity and references to the nautical world.

    The menu is a tribute to Italy, with recipes that are also reinterpretations of great classics. What dishes to order? Mixed fried fish or salmon with white and green asparagus. All accompanied by a Bellini cocktail, of course… Prices on request.

    • Dove: 33 Peck Slip, New York City


    To find accommodation in the South Street Seaport area or the immediate surroundings, you can search the financial district (starting for example from our tips on where to sleep in the NY Financial District). For a general overview of the main neighborhoods where to look for accommodation in New York, with some tips to save, I refer you to our guide (button below).

    Our tips for sleeping in New York

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