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Thread: South Street Seaport Neighborhood Development

  1. #91


    Not sure how I feel about the tower but I like the looks of the rest of the plan.

  2. #92


    ^ It's like a lace dress.

  3. #93


    I think the SHoP plan would only be an improvement over what's currently there. Unless they botch it, I'd be optimistic about this proposal.

    I was down there today, and the Seaport as well as the surrounding area is decidedly unimpressive: From the hideous new buildings and housing projects of the Two Bridges area to the Pearl Street area immediately north of the Brooklyn Bridge and the horrifically massed 1960s-era office and municipal buildings that mar it; from the underutilized (how about putting some shops and cafes within those beautiful arches?!) and riven-by-on-ramps Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge itself to the unfortunate mess that is Water Street; from the Southbridge Towers and the Fulton St. counterfeiters to the fact that, with the FDR Drive, there's a freaking highway running through the thick of it; this area needs REAL help.

    As a tourist center of the city, or a neighborhood for residents to live in or otherwise enjoy, it fails pretty miserably. I'd welcome the investment in the area that SHoP's plan could bring about, provided that the zoning results in that investment not funding the same oversized ugliness that characterizes the area today...

  4. #94
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    There should be some kind of first class attraction anchoring the place. Retail and hotel is nice but they in themselves are not attractions, they are only complementary.

    A world renowned museum or entertainment complex or even an aquarium are examples. Of course, the architecture has to be jaw-dropping also because of its prominent location.

    Somehow though, I doubt any of that will ever materialize.

  5. #95


    I agree with you, A/N.

    Moreover, a chance to build a tower on the waterfront should not be wasted on a box with an interesting facade. NY, the chronic underachiver that think's it's greater than it is, should look across the pond to a truly great city for inspiration. Aim high, little NY. Strive to be like London. You're better than that crap that ShoP wants to build.

    Last edited by londonlawyer; April 11th, 2010 at 11:44 PM.

  6. #96


    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer View Post
    I agree with you, A/N.

    Moreover, a chance to build a tower on the waterfront should not be wasted on a box with an interesting facade. NY, the chronic underachiver that think's it's greater than it is, should look across the pond to a truly great city for inspiration. Aim high, little NY. Strive to be like London. You're better than that crap that ShoP wants to build.
    Strive to be like London?

    London is an economic wasteland in comparison to New York.

    But, yes, architecturally speaking, London does have a *very few* great buildings popping up (which can even then be matched with much taller ones popping up in NYC). Most projects popping up in London are hideous (along with most in New York). If we want to embarrass New York when it comes to new architecture, I think comparing the pathetic recent construction in NYC to Asian cities would make more sense than comparing it to dowdy London.
    Last edited by JFK-CDG; April 12th, 2010 at 12:03 AM.

  7. #97


    The two of you stop right now.

    There are several threads devoted to London. This isn't one of them.

  8. #98


    Quote Originally Posted by Stroika View Post
    ... the FDR Drive, there's a freaking highway running through the thick of it; this area needs REAL help....
    The FDR should be torn down. Brooklyn Bridge should be the last exit. If it creates traffic -- tough. A_holes should not drive into Manhattan from the suburbs and the outer boroughs.

    With that horrible overhead highway gone, I would create a beautiful park space with fountains, etc. leading to the waterfront.

  9. #99


    I don't mind it. Seeing the lights of vehicles flow around the island is kind of cool.

    At some point , decades from now, I bet they're going to add landfill to that side of the island. There is really nowhere Downtown to build anything after the WTC is completed. Just be patient LL. Look how long we've been ogling those towers in London that are just now starting.

  10. #100


    Dover St

    This area is within the Seaport and Extension historic district.

    Before the FDR ramps were built, there were buildings on both sides of Dover St. The trailers and yellow platform are part of a four year $500 million renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge by Skanska.

    Survivors of the buildings demolished on Front St when the substation was built.

    I don't remember the building that was here, but the corner site has been a vacant /parking lot for a long time. There are two excavators at 254 Front St. New building by Morris Adjmi.

    Water St

    New construction at 276 Water St, including what appear to be planting beds for Fishbridge Garden that runs to Pearl St.

    Stretch of Water St to Fulton St that escaped widening; they widened Pearl St instead.

  11. #101


    Finances Could Sink Seaport Museum

    Michael Nagle for The New York Times
    The Seaport Museum New York, which faces severe financial problems, has furloughed half of its staff in the last three weeks.


    Published: February 18, 2011

    For more than a decade the Seaport Museum New York has struggled to stay afloat. But it has never looked closer to going under.

    Over the last three weeks seven of the 21 trustees resigned from the board, and on Monday the museum furloughed 32 employees — half of the staff. Future exhibitions have been put on hold, the museum has effectively eliminated its curatorial and development departments.

    On Thursday Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin and Frank J. Sciame, the Seaport Museum’s chairman for the last four years, met at City Hall to discuss its future.

    In an unusual move for a museum chairman, Mr. Sciame, a real estate developer whose company has projects near the seaport, has lent the museum $3 million since March to cover operating expenses like payroll. Depending on whom you ask, he is either saving the Seaport Museum or sealing its doom.

    “There’s no question that we are dealing with some significant hurdles,” said Peter Gates, who remains on the board. “Frank has brought a truly remarkable level of energy, determination and judgment to the museum. These qualities combined with his great generosity have kept the museum going, and we are grateful to him.”

    “Frank Sciame is doing incalculable harm to the Seaport Museum,” said one furloughed employee, who did not want to be identified because of fear of reprisal for speaking publicly. “He has refused overtures from the city to help stabilize the museum and has driven away trustees who resent his high-handed and confrontational manner. It’s hard to kill a nonprofit, but Sciame is well on the way to accomplishing just that.”

    The museum — at 12 Fulton Street and formerly named the South Street Seaport Museum — explores the city’s maritime history through artifacts and a fleet of 11 vessels, including historic ships and service boats. It has always been small, catering to tourists and to New York maritime buffs. In the wake of 9/11, it weathered particularly rough seas.

    In 2004 it closed its library building and gave away its collection of two million artifacts excavated in Lower Manhattan. It also eliminated several major staff positions to reduce its budget by $1 million. In 2005 it offered its antique ships for adoption, asking New Yorkers to pay for maintenance of a favorite ship.

    In 2008 it ran a deficit of $1 million and the following year had revenue of just $280,000 on a budget of $5.2 million. For 10 years the museum has been in arrears to the city’s Economic Development Corporation for rent and utilities.

    The situation has grown more urgent over the last year. Between March and December Mr. Sciame made a $1.5 million loan to the museum. In July Mary Pelzer, the museum’s president and chief executive, asked the city for assistance, according to city officials; Mr. Sciame reiterated that request at the end of September.

    In May the museum asked the city to buy back its lease on a lot at the corner of John and South Streets for $7 million. This would allow the museum to pay off $1.8 million in back rent and utility payments to the development corporation and would generate an additional $3.2 million, to be paid at the closing in 2012, according to the city.

    Meanwhile, the museum sought a bank loan of $2.7 million against the city’s option to buy back the lease, and the board in December authorized using up to $1.4 million of the loan to pay back Mr. Sciame. When the loan did not come through, Mr. Sciame said, he provided bridge loans, “to keep the museum operating.”

    “When the bank didn’t loan against the option, I just basically became the bank,” Mr. Sciame said.

    The city also objected to funds being used to pay back loans from board members (others beside Mr. Sciame have lent the museum a total of $500,000) and said it would not allow the museum to borrow against the lease buy-back.

    “It’s a bad sign when board members start making loans to organizations,” said a city official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the negotiations. “Their interest in repayment will trump their judgment about what’s best for the organization.”

    In January the City Department of Cultural Affairs and individuals interested in the museum’s future proposed that two new trustees join the board in leadership positions: Doug Kreeger, a business consultant who is married to the sister of the developer Douglas Durst, and Brendan Sexton, a consultant on environmental sustainability and a former sanitation commissioner. No action has been taken on the appointments of those two men.

    After studying the museum’s financial records, Mr. Kreeger and Mr. Sexton agreed to help secure a loan to the museum to cover some operating costs, with the understanding that the museum would undertake a major debt-reduction plan. Under that plan, board members would not have preferred status among the museum’s creditors.

    Some people involved with the museum suggest that Mr. Sciame resisted this assistance in part because Mr. Kreeger is affiliated with a competitor, the Durst Organization — though the two developers collaborated on Historic Front Street at the Seaport. But Mr. Sciame said this was not the source of his objections, but rather that Mr. Kreeger and Mr. Sexton “had some plans that I thought were not operable,” adding that he could not “get into the particulars about it.”

    “We’re considering different ways of running the museum,” Mr. Sciame said. “There were some good ideas that Doug and Brendan had, and they’re under discussion.”

    Three weeks ago trustees began resigning, with the most recent resignation on Wednesday.

    For his part, Mr. Sciame — said he had simply tried to sustain the institution, whose travails he said were largely due to the recession.

    “Like many cultural institutions, this is a tough time in terms of the economic downturn,” he said. “But this museum has been here before.”

    Several of the trustees who resigned did not return calls seeking comment. Ms. Pelzer, who runs the museum and was formerly its general counsel, also did not return calls.
    “We hope the museum will find a constructive solution,” Commissioner Levin said.
    Mr. Sciame said “it’s always difficult” to lay people off, adding “We intend to hire them back.”

    He also said the board had established an austerity committee that is working to reduce costs and increase revenue. There have also been discussions about sharing space with another of the city’s smaller museums or establishing an alliance with a larger institution, though no formal talks have been held.

    As for his tenure, Mr. Sciame said he was open to passing the torch.

    “We have a road map, and my intention is to have that road map implemented, either by myself or someone else,” he added. “I’m not saying it has to be me.”

  12. #102
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Competing visions for South St. Seaport

    BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer

    The weather cooperated — predicted rain did not materialize. It was neither too hot nor too cold on April 9 as around 900 people crowded into a parking lot on South Street between Beekman and Fulton Streets for what was billed as an Oyster Saloon to benefit the New Amsterdam Market.

    They sampled delicacies such as pan-roasted oysters from renowned chef April Bloomfield of The John Dory Bar, oysters Rockefeller from Great Performances, grilled oysters from Luke’s Lobster, wild oysters from the deep waters of Long Island Sound, and farmed oysters from up and down the East Coast. They drank draught beer and freshly brewed coffee and snacked on moist, spicy gingerbread for dessert. The event raised around $30,000 for the New Amsterdam Market, a farmers’ market selling regional produce and products that is scheduled to open for the season on May 1 with Sunday markets weekly in front of the closed stalls of the old Fulton Fish Market.

    Robert La Valva, founder of the New Amsterdam Market, was happy with the response to the Oyster Saloon. He said that it showed that people knew about the New Amsterdam Market and were eager to support it. He would like to make it a permanent fixture in and around the historic Fulton Fish Market buildings, where, he said, there have been markets for centuries.

    But the Howard Hughes Corp., which has a long-term lease on the South Street Seaport from Piers 16 and 17 to Water Street and from John Street to Beekman may have other ideas.

    When General Growth, the previous leaseholder of the area, filed bankruptcy in 2008, it spun off 34 assets that were not central to its operations. Shareholders of General Growth became shareholders of the Howard Hughes Corp., which was created on Nov. 9, 2010 as an independent, publicly traded real estate company with assets spanning 18 states from New York to Hawaii. One of those assets was the South Street Seaport.

    According to Howard Hughes Corp.’s Chief Executive Officer David R. Weinreb in a letter to shareholders dated April 7, 2011, Ward Centers, a 60-acre property in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the South Street Seaport “represent substantial redevelopment opportunities.”

    Weinreb notes that “South Street Seaport is one of the top five most visited sites in New York City.” He goes on to say that, “When the U.S. economy recovers, those assets that are best located will be primed for development.”

    William A. Ackman, chairman of Howard Hughes Corp., said that at $3.1 million — the book value of the South Street Seaport — the property is undervalued. “Last year, it generated more than $5 million in cash net operating income,” he said in a letter to shareholders, “and this number meaningfully understates the future cash-generating potential of this property as G.G.P. [General Growth Properties] generally discontinued granting long-term leases to tenants as it prepared the property for a major redevelopment. Even using the $5 million N.O.I. number, one can get to values approaching $100 million using cap rates appropriate for New York City retail assets, and we would likely leave a lot of money on the table if we sold it for this price.”

    He said that if the South Street Seaport were sold, the sale could generate “large amounts of income” because the book value is so much less than market value, but such a sale “might be destroying long-term shareholder value…particularly if we believe materially more value can be created through redeveloping and releasing these assets over time.”

    Grant Herlitz, president of Howard Hughes Corp. said that the company is “assessing and reassessing” what should become of the South Street Seaport. “We’re not yet a point where we’re ready to make a recommendation,” he said. “We’re working closely with the City to come to a resolution that will reenergize the South Street Seaport and once we do that, everybody will be pleased.”

    The plan that General Growth Properties had floated, which included putting up a 495-foot-tall hotel and apartment building, demolishing the mall on Pier 17, moving the Tin Building to that site and erecting a low-rise, boutique hotel is still on the table.
    “That’s one of the options,” said Herlitz, “but it’s not the only option.”

    He said that he was aware that many in the Lower Manhattan community had opposed the G.G.P. plan. “Once we come up with the options that we think are most viable, we will absolutely try to get as much community support as we can get,” he said. “After all, the Seaport has to serve the community so it wouldn’t do us any good to try to serve a community that is opposed.”

    He said that Howard Hughes Corp. hopes to release a plan for the Seaport later in 2011.

    Meanwhile, Robert La Valva is rounding up 40 to 50 vendors for each of his weekly markets. “It’s important just to keep the market going because it’s its own best spokesperson as the market,” La Valva said, “and the more we do it….” He did not complete the sentence. But he said the market will definitely open on May 1, “and we’ll be putting up a Maypole!”

  13. #103
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    City Seeks New Profitable Ideas for Seaport's Pier 15

    The city wants the South Street Seaport's new double-decker Pier 15 to generate money.

    By Julie Shapiro

    A rendering of the soon-to-open section of the esplanade, looking north toward Pier 15.

    SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — The city is looking for new moneymaking ideas for Pier 15, after rejecting previous proposals for not generating enough of a profit.

    The city released a new request for proposals for the pier on Tuesday, expanding the scope of what the future operator will be able to do to make money.

    In addition to running a maritime education center on the double-decker pier near the South Street Seaport, the operator will also run profit-making boat trips and will be allowed to use some of the pier for retail.

    Seth Pinsky, president of the city's Economic Development Corporation (EDC), said in a statement that the money collected from Pier 15 would "support the long-term future of [the] public waterfront esplanade" adjacent to the pier.

    Earlier this year, the city cut off discussions with at least two nonprofit groups that had applied in 2010 to run the maritime education center.

    One of those groups was Rivers Alive, which was founded to bring New Yorkers closer to the water. Rivers Alive proposed putting computer kiosks on the pier to teach visitors about the history of the harbor and the plants and animals that call it home, co-founder Al Landzberg said.

    But a couple months ago, the EDC told Landzberg his proposal wouldn't work because it would not immediately generate a profit.

    "We're disappointed, very much so," Landzberg said Tuesday. "We had hoped that the [EDC] would find a way to let one of the nonprofit organizations take over the maritime pavilion."

    The financially troubled Seaport Museum New York also applied to run programs on the pier and was also turned down, Landzberg and other sources said.

    Landzberg said he now hopes to team up with an established boat company to bring his ideas for Pier 15 to life, since he doesn't have enough backing to run the large for-profit operation the city now envisions.

    Proposals for Pier 15 are due by Aug. 9, and the pier will be ready for fit-out this fall, the city said.

    Pier 15 is just one part of the new $150 million East River Waterfront, which will eventually run from the Battery Maritime Building to the Lower East Side.

    The first section of the waterfront park, between Maiden Lane and Wall Street, has been delayed several times and is now scheduled to open in mid-July, according to the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center.

    That two-block section includes a much-anticipated 4,300-square-foot oval dog run, a set of steps leading down to the river, tables, seating and landscaping.

    Read more:

  14. #104
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    East Midtown


    These improvements to the Seaport and hopefully, eventually, to the rest of the East Side riverfront, are long overdue. I'm so happy to see things finally happening there. Considering the number of visitors who go there, the Seaport should be a world class experience.

  15. #105
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Broomfield, CO


    Hole in the ground no more! This happened quick when it finally did. Sorry the photos are from a few weeks ago. I'm WAY behind on posting.

    And recently completed a block west:

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