The current head of the financially-sinking South Street Seaport Museum addressed Community Board 1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee on last night to share good news: the beloved neighborhood institution won't be getting the boot from Howard Hughes Corporation as the developer plows forward with its contentious plan to make over the Seaport.
Captain Jonathan Boulware, the museum's interim president, said the museum "must have space on Schermerhorn Row." That is, of course, home to the now-interconnected 19th-century hotels. But it's also where HHC has proposed to put the affordable housing component of their plan. Chris Curry, senior executive vice president for development at HHC, popped his head into the crowded room to confirm that the museum will have the space it needs. Exactly what that means is still unclear.
There is still no formal plan for the future of the museum, but Boulware again emphasized that it will have to be a leaner museum with a smaller fleet of ships and a smaller footprint. He said that, in his business, you maintain ships by the pound and, right now, they have 7,000 tons of ships. Boulware said he wants more pier space. They used to have five piers and now have only one. That doesn't mean more permanent ships, but the space to welcome more ships that want to stop by. He said that he has even had to say no to the glorious U.S. Coast Guard ship commonly known as the Barque Eagle when it asked to pop in for a visit. He said the museum is in the midst of a feasibility study, which is being conducted by WXY and AEA Consulting. He would not commit to making the results of that study public, but it will certainly have an impact on a formal plan for the museum's future.
In other news, we now know when and where part two of last week's epic meeting of CB1's Special Landmarks Committee will take place. It will be at the National Museum of the American Indian (the U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green) on January 5 at 6 p.m. The community board is currently drafting a resolution about HHC's applications for their Seaport overhaul that are currently before the Landmarks Preservation Commission. That resolution will likely get voted on at the January meeting, and subsequently sent as a recommendation to the LPC.
—Evan Bindelglass is a local freelance journalist, photographer, cinephile, and foodie. You can e-mail him, follow him on Twitter @evabin, or check out his personal blog.
· South Street Seaport Museum [Official]
· All South Street Seaport coverage [Curbed]
· All Landmarks Preservation coverage [Curbed]