Volume 22, Number 19 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | September 18 - 24, 2009

Seaport Report

By Janel Bladow

The kids are back at school but you wouldn’t know summer is over by the crowds Downtown on a Monday afternoon. South Street Seaport (S3) has been on a roll all month.

Rollin’ Down The River … Boop, boop, boop…September started with a blast with a John Fogerty concert on Pier 17. More than 5,000 people watched the former Creedence Clearwater Revival rock god ramble through major hits like “Centerfield” (“Put Me In Coach”) and his crowd-pleasing closer “Proud Mary.” A V.I.P. crowd including such neighborhood notables as the gregarious Howard Reed filled the outdoor second floor balcony at Uno’s Grill overlooking the stage. General manager of South Street Seaport Janell Vaughan, host of the party, happily greeted, danced and agreed that the night brought back great memories. Perfect summer night!

Jewels Of The Yangtze… The first vendor cart on Fulton St. coming into S3 is a must stop for those interested in unique necklaces, bracelets and other baubles. Each piece at Exotic Handmade Jewelry — necklaces, earrings, bracelets and bags — carries a Buddhist symbol. Most are made of plant resin or yak bone.

This is the first year Tashi Dhondup Lama has had his business at the Seaport. “It’s been good. Good experience. Sales good. All good except the weather in the beginning of summer,” the young man told S.R.

Tashi came to the U.S. in 2002 with his sister Sherap as Tibetan refugees and settled in Colorado. After graduating college, he moved to New York City in 2006 and got into the jewelry import business.

“Tibet is rich in stones and jewelry and has always fascinated me,” Lama said. “The inspiration for many of the pieces comes from my grandmother, she used to do exotic bead work.” Tashi showed us an elaborate, large neckpiece similar to her creations. Now his uncle and family in refugee camps in Nepal make the jewelry based on his cousin’s designs.

“It’s really a small family business. But my ambition is to bring the Tibetan culture to the world,” he said.

We asked if he’s met Tibet’s biggest cheerleader, Richard Gere. “No, but I saw him here in New York.” He explained that the room was big, crowded and he was way in the back. While Tashi sells his jewels, sister Sherap is a student at John Jay College. You can find him at S3 through the end of the month. He’ll be at the Bryant Park Holiday Market too, on 41st St & Ave. of the Americas, from Nov. 6 through Jan. 3. Or look up his web site, www.ehandmadejewelry.com.

The Dutch Are Back… Last weekend kicked off the celebrations. Four hundred years ago, an Englishman, hired by the Dutch East India Company, sailed the Halve Maen (Half Moon), up a waterway in search of a northern route to the Far East. Instead, Henry Hudson discovered the river that bears his name. The Dutch bought the land at the mouth of the river for a reported $24 and started a small settlement. It’s been quite the party ever since.

As part of the festivities, The South Street Seaport Museum opened its latest exhibition, “New Amsterdam: The Island At The Center Of The World.” The $24 receipt from Pieter Schaghen for the purchase of Manhattan by Dutch Governor Peter Minuit from the Lenape tribe in 1626 is just one tiny piece of this amazing history. Learn of Catalina Rapalje who lived from the beginning of New Amsterdam, raising her family on Paerlstraat, through her eighties with 145 relatives, and island’s takeover by the English. Exhibit runs Tuesdays to Sundays, to Jan. 3, 2010, www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org.



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