Seaport Discussion Heats Up

This is the new proposed plan for the pavilions under the FDR Drive

This is the new proposed plan for the pavilions under the FDR Drive

Last night, the Howard Hughes Corporation presented the latest iteration of the proposed South Street Seaport redevelopment to Community Board 1’s preservation committee and the public.

The plan presented, as a whole, is a new attempt at reviving the failed festival marketplace strategy of decades ago and adding a 2014 patina of more bulk and retail to the district. The current schematic takes the oldest neighborhood in New York City and dresses it in an abundance of fluorescent lights, covers it in peculiar paving and awnings, and alters its historic buildings and urban fabric.

For consistency, the new features will be knitted cohesively with a thread of homogenized mediocrity. It will render New York’s appearance to the likes of anywhere else, when our city’s aesthetic is derived from its history and that is why it appears different. This plan is counterproductive, as it will move a landmarked building in order to afford better views of a new mall, yet its new tower will block views of New York’s favorite icon: the Brooklyn Bridge.

As a Texas mall developer, Howard Hughes Corp. may be accustomed to a formula of building on pieces of flat land where nothing exists. This paradigm is translated to the corporation’s treatment of the Seaport, where they are prepared to build what seems to be a new city within a city. The Seaport is not a barren piece of land with little investment or public interest, nor a resource to bleed dry, but a unique palette of historic properties to work from, which contribute to all of Lower Manhattan and the city beyond.

Read HDC’s statement to Community Board 1 regarding the landmarked Schermerhorn Row and the Tin Building here.

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Historic Districts Council

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232 East 11th Street New York, NY 10003

2 thoughts on “Seaport Discussion Heats Up

  1. My parents were raised in NYC and raised their family of 5 children there. They moved to Southbridge towers more than 30 years ago and thouroughly enjoyed the South St Seaport area and Fish market. The views of the East River and Brooklyn Bridge were especially enjoyed by all of us as by New Yorkers who lived in or visited the South St Seaport area. Surely, this land that is owned by our city and its people must be preserved for the benefit of all of us [and for future generations] who love new York. The short term financial gain for our city that would come from the sale of this property is not justified and the erection of another private tower woud be an abdication of responsibility by our political leaders to preserving the heritage of all New Yorkers.

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