Plans to bring a temporary ice skating rink to the top of South Street Seaport’s newly-opened Pier 17 development were approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday. The office, restaurant, and music venue falls within the South Street Seaport Historic District, and as such, came to the Landmarks Commission to seek approvals for what it calls its temporary “Winter Village.”
The proposal only pertained to temporary structures that would be erected on the roof of the existing four-story building. The Howard Hughes-developed building is now close to wrapping up its summer rooftop program—over the past few months the rooftop has hosted concerts by the likes of Kings of Leon and a comedy show by Amy Schumer, acts like Sting, Shaggy, and Diana Ross are all set to follow this month and next.
The materials presented to the LPC on Tuesday concerned plans for Pier 17’s winter rooftop programming, which will run roughly between November and April. Plans right now call for an ice-skating rink, a skate shop, a winter market (like the holiday markets throughout the city), and a warming hut.
Groups like the Historic Districts Council have expressed their opposition to such a temporary structure saying it “decries this naked bid to commercialize what was promised to be public space when plans for this development were before city agencies.” The preservation group further went on to add that they “would like to see plans for how the applicants intend to reverse these installations at the season’s conclusion.” They were concerned that the rooftop additions would block the views of the Brooklyn Bridge, and deny people open space.
Landmarks Commissioners did not share those concerns enough to reject the proposal; since this is a seasonal development, the approval would essentially give Howard Hughes a lifelong permission to host the Winter Village each year. Some commissioners initially wondered whether they should only approve the project for 10 years, and then decide on its continuance after that. Commissioner Jeanne Lufty wanted to limit it to five years, but in the end, the six other Commissioners overrode her preference and voted for the project to move forward without any time constraints.