South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport is a thriving, historic location in New York City where the East River meets Fulton Street. This shopping and dining hotspot is located in Lower Eastside Manhattan. The Front Street section of the seaport has welcomed dozens of new and popular cafes, restaurants and other dining spots that have transformed a once-dull waterfront into a bustling center-point for locals and tourists. South Street Seaport includes Fulton Marketplace and is a Financial District neighbor. It comprises 12 square blocks of a designated NYC historic area which was once NYCs first port.

History

South Street Seaport bears rich history evident throughout the many restored historic buildings. Originally founded by Norma and Peter Stanford in 1967, the area was purposed as a museum where visitors could learn about the height of seaport activity, between 1820 and 1860, through stores functioning as reproductions of original working shops around the waterfront. The group of historic ships at the seaport is used for public cruises along the city’s waterways in good weather. The fleet includes several tugboats, schooners, a lightship, a four-masted barque, and a fully rigged cargo ship. This ships still exist because the South Street Seaport was preserved (most importantly Schermerhorn Row on Fulton Street’s southwest side) at a period when the sailing industry was undervalued and developers wanted to scoop up prime waterfront property. Today it is home to some of the oldest and most interesting architecture in Manhattan.

Events

Events

Events  Image: Seaport Music Festival (flickr)

Though South Street Seaport features events year-round, the largest numbers take place during New York’s finest weather: the summer. Concerts, festivals, special exhibitions and more happen at one or all of three venues within the district: Beekman Beer Garden on Pier 17 North, Pier 17 Stage, and Fulton Street Cobbelstone Streets. Once a prime location for the historic Fulton Fish Market’s many annual events, the seaport now hosts a bevy of events from Children’s Day to mainstream concerts and the River to River Festival.  The most popular event is the Seaport Music Festival, a free event happening annually, for almost a decade, during the summer at Pier 17. The Fulton Stall Market (on South Street between Beekman and Fulton Streets) is a happening venue throughout the year where a stage is provided for revolving musical acts.

Attractions

Attractions

Attractions  Image: Andrew Hinderaker (South Street Seaport Museum Facebook page)

The seaport is an anchor within the community, attracting visitors with scores of retail shops, restaurants, sights and things to do including cruises, maritime-based activities, and concerts. The museum, part of several which comprise America’s National Maritime Museum, has more than 25,000 square for educational facilities and exhibitions; it holds a maritime library  and conservation laboratory, a historic print shop, and a craft center but perhaps the biggest attraction of all is the fleet of 19th century ships, the biggest collection in America. Front Street is the direction to go when looking for an array of noteworthy dining options while all around, myriad shops offer a wealth of different products and souvenirs.

Hotels Near South Street Seaport

Hotels Near South Street Seaport

Hotels Near South Street Seaport

Less than half a dozen hotels are available within walking distance of South Street Seaport, the farthest, Gild Hall boutique hotel, is a 10 minute walk away. In the neighboring financial district there are many more choices with transportation a good option for getting between lodging and attractions within and around the seaport. Hotels nearest to the seaport include the Cabana Seaport on the East River, the Best Western Seaport Inn (pictured), and Hampton Inn Manhattan Seaport. Visitors can also check out several nearby attractions including the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park, and the New York Stock Exchange.

Top image: Charley Lhasa (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

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