Seaport Report: July 2016

South Street Seaport Museum At the South Street Seaport Museum’s Seafarers Camp, kids grades 7–12 learn how to sail a tall ship aboard the schooner Lettie G. Howard.

South Street Seaport Museum
At the South Street Seaport Museum’s Seafarers Camp, kids grades 7–12 learn how to sail a tall ship aboard the schooner Lettie G. Howard.

BY JANEL BLADOW

Mid-summer madness is on! So much happening, so just stop and enjoy a moment down by the East River.

FUN, FILMS & POKEMAN… Movie night at Animation Nights New York had its “July Pictures!” Wednesday night, short animated films from around the world, from “Daphane or the Lovely Specimen” by Sebastien Lauderback to “Tale” by Attila Betoti. As an added bonus for all Pokemon Go trainers — lure modules were dropped before and after the films. So the Pokemon Go chaos that has gripped the city and country this week also hit our little ’hood. You may want to mark your calendar to make the August event. The films are free, the location is great — 180 Maiden Ln. — and refreshments are offered. Check the site for the next screening: animationnights.blogspot.com.

Photo by Janel Bladow Tenor Glenn Seven Allen joined the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra for a fun night at the South Street Seaport Museum gallery.

Photo by Janel Bladow
Tenor Glenn Seven Allen joined the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra for a fun night at the South Street Seaport Museum gallery.

A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM… On a steamy Friday evening in June (the 10th to be exact) The Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra gave what’s becoming their annual neighborhood concert. The South Street Seaport Museum Gallery on Water Street was alight and rollicking with tunes. A special performance by tenor Glenn Seven Allen (called an “Edwardian matinee idol” by Opera News) wowed the capacity crowd of neighbors and KCO supporters. Orchestra conductor and founder — and our neighbor — Gary Fagin, designed the program as a celebration of U.S. National Parks and in memory of SSSM founder Peter Stanford. For those of us who love NYC history, he extolled the book Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, by Eric Sanderson and Markley Boyer. Worth the read!

MUSEUM MONEY… Speaking of the South Street Seaport Museum, we’re sending out super kudos to the powers that be! Just this week, the museum received $3.5-million in capital funding for the upcoming year, in the form of grants from the city’s the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Mayor’s Office, Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Margaret Chin. The funds are going help make the museum’s flagship Wavertree accessible to visitors with disabilities when it returns later this summer. “The piers in lower Manhattan are where New York City began, as a trading hub and center of commerce,” said Brewer. “I’m happy to have had a part in making the Seaport Museum’s ships accessible once again.”

Photo by Janel Bladow Signs of life at the Bridge Cafe when its iconic neon sign was lit for the first time since Hurricane Sandy.

Photo by Janel Bladow
Signs of life at the Bridge Cafe when its iconic neon sign was lit for the first time since Hurricane Sandy.

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME… Neighbors excitedly stood outside the Bridge Café at 279 Water St. last week when its iconic neon sign was lit up for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. In fact, both signs — the logo with the outline of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the café’s name — are now again glowing red. Work continues inside the 222-year-old building, and there’s no word yet on when it’s reopening, but the neighbors are anxiously standing by! We’ll keep you posted.

AHOY SAILORS… Beginning this month and through August, kids can got to camp — at sea! The SSSM launches Seafarers Camp — week-long sail camps aboard the schooner Lettie G. Howard. Kids grades 7–12 become crew-in-training as they work together to learn how to sail a tall ship,. Built in 1893 as a commercial fishing vessel, Lettie, one of the last of her kind, is now a U.S. Coast Guard-certified sailing-school vessel. For more info or to register, go to southstreetseaportmuseum.org/seafarers-camp or email lettieghoward@seany.org.

ROMANCE OF THE SEA… And for those of us grown-ups who just love to be aboard a sailing ship, enjoy a sail aboard the 1885 schooner Pioneer. Available Thursdays though Sundays through October, she sails from Pier 16 and lets you experience New York Harbor and Manhattan’s skyline from their most majestic viewpoint — the sea. Bring a picnic, and a bottle of wine! Celebrate a birthday or just unwind in the silence. Sail times, tickets are at southstreetseaportmuseum.org/visit/street-of-ships/pioneer, and for charter options, email charters@seany.org.

SOS… Could now mean, save our street! Peck Slip School is only one-year old and already administrators say it’s too small to handle all its students. The 6,100-square-foot rooftop gymatorium (a gym-and-auditorium combo) isn’t big enough for all the 270 students to get in their playtime. And when the school adds fourth and fifth graders, the student body will more than triple. Principal Maggie Siena petitioned Community Board 1 earlier this month to shut down Peck Slip between Pearl and Water Sts. all day, five days a week during the school year to accommodate additional recess space. This is a huge concern for Seaport residents and businesses. With only two streets out — Beekman and Peck Slip — and just one in —Dover St. — traffic in the area is already terrible. The parking lot across the street isn’t going anywhere soon and its primary entrance/exit is across from the school. If the street shuts, then already-tied-up Pearl St. will become an even worse traffic jam during rush hours — not to mention all the parents dropping off and picking up students in their SUVs at Blue School on Water St. But the biggest concern was rightly expressed by Front St. resident and member of the Old Seaport Alliance Neil Mossberg at both the Seaport Committee and full CB1 meeting: this will greatly impact Seaport businesses and restaurants, some of which are just bouncing back from Hurricane Sandy and others that just started up. Both residents and biz owners should be vocally concerned!

SO HIGH… So China Oceanwide Holidings, the buyer of 80 South Street from Howard Hughes Corp. including the air rights, has colossal plans for the block just south of the Seaport. Their rendering of the planned supertall building shows it at 1,400 feet tall! It will have the highest rooftop in lower Manhattan. Just so you know: that’s 50 feet above the roof of 1 WTC, currently the western hemisphere’s tallest building, counting its spire, at1776 feet.

Photo by Janel Bladow This family came all the way from the Philippines to the “Strut, Swagger and Slobber Bully Beach Party” to meet host James Goubeaux’s bulldog Oliver.

Photo by Janel Bladow
This family came all the way from the Philippines to the “Strut, Swagger and Slobber Bully Beach Party” to meet host James Goubeaux’s bulldog Oliver.

WOOF… Surf’s up! The tails were wagging in Peck Slip Park on June 18 for the biggest, baddest “Strut, Swagger and Slobber Bully Beach Party” ever! More than 100 bulldogs and other breeds and their 250-plus two-legged partners turned out for a super-successful fund-raiser that benefited both Mid-Atlantic and Bumper bulldog rescues. The event’s founder, James Goubeaux, wants to thank everyone for the great time, with special shout outs to Howard Hughes Corp,, The Salty Paw, Seaport Animal Hospitals, Old Seaport Alliance, Greatest American Dog Trainer’s Team, and Conni Freestone for her photography of this and all Strut events. The event started because of Goubeaux’s dog Oliver, who has 25,000 followers on Instagram (at Bullobster) and more than 10,000 fans on Facebook (at Oliver The Bulldog). A family of six of his biggest Facebook fans even came all the way from the Philippines to join the party. “They came the farthest,” said Goubeaux. “I just shake my head.”

OH RATS… Walking around the neighborhood at night is like taking a nocturnal stroll through a safari park. Only you won’t see lions and tigers — but oh my! The rats! From Brooklyn Bridge south … I’d say past Fulton St., but I’m sure the infestation goes to the tip of Battery Park, the critters are stirring by the hundreds. While watching a pack romping through restaurant garbage earlier this week, a neighbor said “That’s nothing!” and explained how the stench from dead rats near Fulton St. is overpowering, thanks to the many bait boxes everywhere. It’s almost scary.

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