Seaport Report: August 2018

Jon Batiste and The Dap-Kings rocked Pier 17’s rooftop venue with a free concert on July 28.
Photo by Jane Kratochvil

BY JANEL BLADOW

TOWER TALKS… As reported in Downtown Express (“Let’s make a deal! HHC pitches community amenities in bid for local support for Water Street tower”), Howard Hughes Corp. made an appearance at the Community Board 1 Executive Committee meeting last month to talk about plans for 250 Water St., the block-sized parking lot the company recently bought for an astronomical $182.7 million.

As expected, community preservation group Save Our Seaport (SOS) came out swinging, blasting HHC’s “chutzpah” when it “asked the community to name its price” to allow an out-sized development (see Posted on page 8 for SOS’s full statement).

I spoke with SOS boardmember Michael Kramer Monday, and he said that they have three points they want to rally support for at an upcoming public meeting: First, zoning rights in the Seaport are not up for sale. “We fought hard and it was upheld in court in 2003. They have nerve to reopen this again,” Kramer said. Second, community members and school parents and teachers are concerned that construction on the lot will harm air quality, and make the adjacent Peck Slip play street unsafe. And lastly, people need to remember that this is a historic district and an irreplaceable asset to the community.

“We’ll keep talking,” Kramer said. SOS plans another public meeting for Thursday, Aug. 23 at the Southbridge Towers community room. Doors open at 6 pm, and the meeting starts at 6:30 pm, ending at 8 pm.

NEW NEIGHBOR… Just a couple weeks ago the new boutique hotel, Mr. C Seaport, and its restaurant Bellini opened for business — refreshingly refined, artfully deco, happily friendly and comfortable. We had cocktails in the lounge this week, and look forward to more. Will be visiting and giving you the news in more detail next month.

CANAL ROOTS… Ever wonder what it would have been like to dig a 360-mile gully in the mid-1800s? Back-breaking. Mind-altering. Spirit-shattering. Author Jack Kelly pulls no punches in his latest look at the making of America: “Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal.”

Dug entirely by hand through the wilderness, the canal spawned new lifestyles and even new religions. The Erie Canal made New York City the commercial capital of the country, connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Midwest, and opened the Great Plains to the settlers. And along the way, it also brought America’s first “crime of the century,” horrific acts of violence, crazy treasure hunts, a visionary cross-dresser and boatloads of fanatics, mystics and hoaxers.

Join Kelly as he recounts the history, hysteria, and horror of this epic venture. He will be speaking at the South Street Seaport Museum’s Book Talk, on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Melville Gallery, 213 Water St. Books will be on sale and signed after the event. Doors open at 6:15 pm. Tickets are $10 for non-members, but act fast, because seating is limited. https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/10282873.

RAISING THE ROOF… The end of July saw the opening of the Pier 17 Rooftop. A free community concert headlined by Jon Batiste and The Dap-Kings rocked the roof and rolled the waters on July 28. Five more concerts are set for this month, including Dashboard Confessional and Michael McDonald.

The movie nights are also a big hit. Next one is “The Greatest Showman” on Wednesday, Aug. 15, followed on Aug. 29 by “Minons.” When it’s not booked for a special event, go up and check out the public space. Not only does it have an awesome view, but the river breeze is comforting during the current hot spell. Nice, quiet, comfortable. Take a book. Stream a movie. Escape the mayhem below.

We reached out to Saul Scherl, Tri-State majordomo for Howard Hughes Corporation, for his thoughts on the venue’s long-awaited debut. “It’s such a thrill to see our new Pier 17 rooftop being enjoyed by so many families and members of our local community — as well as visitors from far and wide” he said. “We are very proud to be part of our city’s effort to reclaim its relationship to the waterfront and plan for a vital, sustainable future. We want to thank our city leaders who have helped make possible the renaissance of our beloved Seaport District.”

For more details on upcoming events, see www.pier17ny.com.

FEASTS FOR FOODIES… Two dining-out events are going on Downtown this month — Summer Restaurant Week through Friday, Aug. 17, and Get Low Tuesdays which ends Tuesday, Aug. 28. Great time to check out some of the delish creations by our local chefs. Restaurant Week is a deal — two-course lunches are $26, while $42 gets you a three-course dinner.

Almost 400 eateries are participating, but reservations for those trendy spots like Bar Boulud may be hard to get. So check out the top spots in our hood. The Tuck Room (11 Fulton St.) offers a choice of salmon, Schnitzel or burger for lunch, and for dinner an appetizer sampler with a choice of the salmon, Schnitzel or baby back ribs. MarkJoseph (261 Water St,) has an amazing lunch and dinner deal too. Both sittings offer choices of salads or baked clams for appys, and a selection of chicken, steak or salmon for entrees. And their lunch includes dessert! MJ is also participating in Get Low Tuesdays on Aug. 28 which features a 20-percent discount on a dinner for two after 5pm.

Meanwhile, you can dine a deux at Trading Post on their Tuesday, Aug. 14. Parties are limited to two and discount doesn’t include alcohol, tax or tip. For more info, see https://www.downtownny.com/getlow and https://www.nycgo.com/restaurant-week-about.

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