- Real Estate
- Under Cover
- Special Editorial
- In Pictures
BY JANEL BLADOW | Summer season is gearing up at the South Street Seaport with new shops, bars and restaurants now open and more to come.
Look for everything from clothes kids can draw on to craft beers for adults to sip.
“We had to come here to the fabulous Seaport,” Monica Phromsavanh, C.E.O. of Modalistas Inc., told Downtown Express. “We wanted to try something new and also heard amazing things about the Seaport.”
Phromsavanh and her store mascot Reina (a well-dressed Chihuahua) can be found at ModaBox by Modalistas (193 Front St.), in the former Coach storefront. Previously part of the Limelight Shops in Chelsea, Phromsavanh opted for a location change this summer along with rebranding the name and concept and seeking new clientele.
The shop is full of unique tops, jeans, dresses by trendy and new designers from New York City, Col0mbia and Sweden. Labels include Boundary from Los Angeles, party dresses by ISSUE New York, DBrand jeans from Stockholm and Sandra Baquero designs of Colombia.
The owner says her clientele includes “very international jetsetter” types and she’s found that quite a few items sell out fast to local shoppers and tourists.
Even if you can’t find what you want in the store, you can still shop online. Phromsavanh, who has 15 years fashion business experience with brands such as Burberry and Limited Express, is building a unique ecommerce concept. Shoppers take a five-minute on-line quiz about their shape and style. Based on that and if they are looking for casual or cocktail attire, a box filled with outfit choices is shipped to their homes. They try on the pieces, keep what they like and ship the rest back to the warehouse within five days. They are only charged for what they buy.
“A lot of women today are just too busy to go shopping,” she said. “We do it for them.”
Around the corner at 18 Fulton St., is the just-opened Ambrose Hall, a rustic yet modern craft beer hall. Named after the Seaport’s own Lightship Ambrose, one of the few lightships still intact, the Schermerhorn Row bar has concrete floors, exposed timbers, iron beams and lots of big, bright windows. It’s part of the Lure Group, which includes Slate, Clinton Hall and the Beekman Beergarden.
Ambrose Hall features a rotation of 12 seasonal and local brews served from two custom-built black iron tap towers. Behind the bar is a shelf of hand-selected artisanal and small batch whiskey, scotch, bourbon, gin and tequila brands. To complement the hearty beers and liquors, the menu has bar snacks such as kettle-cooked chips smothered in beer-blended melted cheese, eight baguette sliders, pressed and open-faced sandwiches, German-style Bratwurst and more.
Haagen-Dazs, a Seaport favorite, returns later this month in the shop next to Ambrose Hall on Schermerhorn Row. Look for lots of delicious new flavors of ice cream to taste during the steamy summer months.
Continuing east along the Row, Studio Manhattan (8 Fulton St.) recently relocated from Pier 17 to a bigger storefront next to It’Sugar.
“We started three years ago in a Seaport kiosk and when the opportunity arose to open inside the pier, we jumped at it,” says Emily Guggino, Studio’s vice president and business manager who also happens to be married to the president and creative force behind the brand, Ayhan Kimsesizcan.
The accessory line grew out of Ayhan’s passion for everything chic. A former news photojournalist in Turkey, Ayhan came to New York City and with camera and Vespa zipped around the city snapping cool shots.
The brainstorm came when his snaps were Photoshopped onto hip leather mailbags, cellphone cases, clutches, notepads, shirts, you name it. All art work and design is done locally. Recently the company has expanded to collaborate with a variety of artists.
“We knew the pier was closing,” added Guggino, who says they shopped around for storefronts (they also opened on Bleecker St.). “But we wanted a presence here. It’s like coming home. It’s a great destination for tourists and has great history to it.”
Another N.Y.C. boutique company, The Chalkboard Tee, is also slated to pop up in the Seaport this summer. Chris, then a handyman, came up with the concept of using chalkboard paint on t-shirts so kids and adults can create their own signature shirts.
His then girlfriend Jinyen, now his wife, wondered why he wasn’t selling his amazing idea. Next thing you know, the cute couple is peddling tees with designs from whales to brick walls to picture frames at the St. Anthony Market on Houston Street. Today, they are an internet success. The all-cotton shirt comes with its own piece of chalk in a tiny pocket on the hem.