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BY JANEL BLADOW
This is the year the Seaport’s ship will come in.
The new international fashion retailer and a redesigned restaurant/bar that have already opened in 2018 are sure signs that the once-dowdy South Street Seaport area is well into its rebranding as “The Seaport District,” a chic destination for well-heeled shoppers and diners.
Scotch & Soda, an Amsterdam-based clothing company, opened this month at the corner of Fulton and Front streets. Founded in the 1980s, the Euro-fashion giant features upmarket, trendy clothes and accessories for men and women.
Further up Front Street, and now headed into its third incarnation, the restaurant formerly known as Nelson Blue and Kiwi Cuba, at 233 Front St. and Peck Slip, reopens this week as a sports bar, Vintage61. Owners say the new concept is “sports bistro” and a gathering spot for all — non-sports fans and non-wine drinkers too.
Coming in April is Pier 17’s first tenant — ESPN. The sports-TV network takes over 19,000 square feet on the third floor of the sea-green glass structure’s east end, with views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines. ESPN executives call it “a state-of-the-art content factory.” Shows will broadcast from the pier.
The area’s first gourmet fast-food vegan shop will open in early summer. Under the direction of executive chef Chloe Coscarelli, By Choe, will be a 25,000-square-foot eatery along Front Street at John Street. Fans of their meatless burgers, fries and sweets will no longer have to trek uptown to Greenwich Village or Chelsea to get their fix.
And Big Gay Ice Cream fans take note. They’ll be returning to the neighborhood at 11 Fulton Street in May.
Construction is full throttle on Mr C Seaport, a 66-room boutique hotel at 33 Peck Slip, formerly the Seaport Best Western. Expected to open in early summer, it’s owned by the Cipriani brothers, with Howard Hughes Corp. as a limited partner. It’s the Ciprianis first East Coast hotel, a companion to their Left Coast baby, Mr. C Beverly Hills.
This summer, Pier 17 will also open its massive 1.5-acre rooftop event space, where Live Nation just signed on to produce concerts. It includes two patios and a performance space designed for fashion shows, movie screenings, and concerts that can accommodate up to 4,000 people. Parts are covered by a transparent latticework canopy by German artist Achim Menges.
By the end of summer, expect another chic European clothier — Milan-based 10 Corso Como opens its first U.S. shop in the Fulton Marketplace. The 13,000-square foot store is designed by American artist Kris Ruhs.
“As a European, I am very excited to see 10 Corso Como come to the place where New York City was born,” said Carla Sozzani, founder and former fashion editor. “I am looking forward to creating an extraordinary destination in such a unique neighborhood where the interests of the community are a focus for growth.”
In the fall, Jean-Georges Vongerichten will be the first celebrity chef to open in one of the six “pier village” dining-and-drinking spots on Pier 17 when he unveils his 10,000-square-foot restaurant. The glass-walled boxes are on two stories, first floor and mezzanine, with views of the corridors so visitors can see the Brooklyn Bridge and East River.
Coming later in the year is a new Momofuku by David Chang. The TV super chef takes over one of the massive glass-box restaurants in Pier 17 to dish up his edgy Korean-inspired cuisine.
The latest celebrity chef to take on one of the restaurant spaces is Andrew Carmellini, who leased an 11,000-square-foot, two-story spot last month. Expected to open early next year, this eatery will join his other Manhattan hot spots: The Dutch, Locanda Verde, and Lafayette.
A McNally-Jackson bookstore and cafe is expected to open before Christmas on Fulton Street’s Schermerhorn Row. It will be the third independent, New York-based shop owned and operated by Sarah McNally, a former book editor.
And though details are still scant, Fellow Barber, an apothecary-barber shop currently in Soho and Greenwich and East Villages, is slated to start slathering and grooming this fall.
Work recently began on the historic Tin Building on South Street. The structure is being dismantled and rebuilt 33 feet to the east to give it more distance from the FDR Drive trestle. When finished some time in 2019, Vogerichten is expected to open a 53,000-square-foot seafood market and food hall.
Since 2013, Howard Hughes Corp. has spent $785 million to redevelop the Seaport neighborhood. This will be the year that many of its plans will finally pull into port.