By Janel Bladow
Thanksgiving is still a week away but around the Seaport, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Yep, everywhere you go!
Holiday on Ice … Christmas seasons opens with a blast next weekend at the South Street Seaport. Lighting of the fabulous S3 (South Street Seaport, for short) tree is at 6 p.m. next Friday, Nov. 28, complete with the Big Apple Chorus singing carols and a visit from the best Santa Claus in town. The chorus is back every Friday (6 p.m./ & 7 p.m.), Saturday and Sunday and Christmas Eve (3 p.m. & 4 p.m.) to magically light up Fulton St. with the sounds of the season. You can’t help but catch Christmas fever walking the cobblestones, looking in the colorfully decorated windows and enjoying the feeling of old New York.
Out on historic Pier 17, an old New York tradition is reborn in an oh so modern high-tech manner: ice skating. A massive 8,000-square foot ice skating rink also debuts next Friday and becomes one of the city’s newest must-see winterscapes. “Seaport Ice” runs through Feb. 28, 2009, seven days a week, 10 a.m. — 10 p.m. Admission is $5 and rentals $7. As cheap as a movie date and twice as healthy! Here’s an added bonus: the first 150 people receive free admission and skates! With this latest ice rink, The City That Never Sleeps becomes the City That Never Stops Skating. Sharpen your blades!
Meanwhile, kiddies can spend story time with Santa beginning next Saturday afternoon, Nov 29. From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through Dec. 20, children can join Santa for an animated reading of a favorite Christmas tale. Find him on Pier 17 in the Third Floor Atrium. Plus from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. kids can take Seaport Ttrolley rides with Santa.
Fulton Fish Market … Since the 1960s, Naima Rauam has set up her easel in the Seaport. “I like to tell people I’ve been here since the dinosaurs, when Tyrannosaurus Herring roamed the streets,” recently joked the artist who did her first Fulton Fish Market painting as a project for an Art Students League class.
From 1984 through 1987 she worked out of a uniquely hybrid fish house/gallery/studio space, “Art in the Afternoon, Fish in the Morning.” Mornings from three to 11 it was a fish stall then at noon, Rauam moved in with her paintings and supplies until every night at six when she’d pack everything in her gallery studio away till the next day.
“It was an unusual sharing of space, for sure,” she told Seaport Report. “People would ask if the smell came with the paintings. I told them I could arrange it.” Her current exhibit “Third Annual Remembering Fulton Fish Market” wraps this weekend. “I was upset when the fish market moved in November 2005 so I began this exhibition as an annual commemoration to bring back its spirit,” says the painter who lives on the Lower East Side.
She says the event has been so successful this season that she even got several commissions from people who want her to re-create specific street scenes. “I was first drawn to the neighborhood because from 1822 to 2005, the fish market was such a part of the early formation of Manhattan and it would be a shame for such an important aspect of the history of New York City to fade away. I will continue to paint the Seaport’s different aspects today. It’s such a rich subject matter. Already I have a theme for next year’s show. It will be the 25th anniversary of ‘Art in The Afternoon, Fish in The Morning’ and I plan to bring it back to life. I want to commemorate the smokehouse. The signage is still on the building.” To check out her former gallery space, visit Fresh Salt, a restaurant/bar on Beekman St. To check out the exhibit and meet Rauam, stop in @ Seaport Gallery, 210 Front St. at Beekman, daily, noon to 6 p.m. through Sunday, Nov. 23) or visit www.rememberingfultonfishmarket.com.
Christmas at Sea … Continuing another S3 neighborhood holiday tradition, the Seaman’s Church Institute holds its annual “Christmas At Sea Gala & Auction” on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 5:30 p.m.– 8 p.m. at the New York Yacht Club in their fabulous Model Room. For more than 20 years this holiday event has raised money for S.C.I.’s various programs for merchant seafarers as well as delighting their supporters. The evening includes both live and silent auctions of some amazing items: a weeklong sail aboard the yacht Sumurun, built in 1914, or a cruise for two from American Cruise Lines. But the highlight of last year’s festivities was such a hit, it’s now become a gala tradition. Partygoers buy “The Message in a Bottle” for $50. The message inside is a number matching a grab bag.
“Last year, grab bags had items like iPods, crystal wine glasses and jewelry store gift certificates,” said S.C.I.’s Jennifer Koenig.
For more information visit http://www.seamenschurch.org, or drop by the church gift shop, 241Water St.
Even though we’re here in the heart of the wasting economy, Wall Street, look around at everything you have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving! Send your items and thoughts to SeaportReport@downtownexpress.com.