Making Way for New Mall at South Street Seaport

Heather Brown

The South Street Seaport has been a popular hangout spot for many University students to do homework alongside the East River, grab something to eat, shop in Pier 17’s mall and just hangout on weekends and during breaks from a rigorous class schedule.

Over the summer, the South Street Seaport has had plenty of activities to keep residents entertained. They rolled out a faux lawn and played movies every weekend from May to the beginning of Sept., including movies such as Up and the Back to the Future series. Food and retail containers have been added with short term leases to provide patrons with food, adult beverages, lemonade and clothing. The Smorgasbar has been providing people with great tasting beer, wine, spirits and food in their outdoor grills featuring local food options.

The “See Change NY” movement that is responsible for allowing the Seaport to go out with a bang, has a calendar full of free events for all ages to enjoy before the historic site is transformed forever. A weekend of family fun is offered each Sunday with the “KidAround!” events. This includes fun activities for children including performances, arts and crafts and storytelling. For adults, this weekend will be the last free yoga session at 9:00 am Saturday morning.

Now, our beloved Seaport is getting a makeover. Since Hurricane Sandy hit Manhattan last fall, the downtown NYC area has been one of the most affected by the treacherous storm.  The Seaport hasn’t quite been the same since. Although a handful of stores have been renovated and reopened, a great deal are still destroyed, including SuperDry and Brookstone, and we aren’t sure when we will see them up and running again.

There is a new plan in place, voted on by Community Board 1 last Feb., for Pier 17 to be completely rebuilt starting in Oct. The two level glass structure will allow for a lot of natural light and will be filled with high-end stores and restaurants, leaving no room for mom-and-pop stores. Retailers are hoping to bring in enough money to relieve the burden of lost profits from Sandy and the time that the mall will be closed during renovations.

The current vendors inside the mall have been offering their products at extremely discounted prices to get rid of inventory before they are pushed out. The rooftop of the new mall will provide the same spectacular view of the skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights. It will also feature a green roof that will have a 40 percent larger lawn for public use and seating for concerts and other events. It is expected to be complete by 2015. There is also talk of possibly including high-end apartment buildings in the future.

The brand in charge of the renovations, SeeChangeNY, says their mission is “…to provide a new product that includes the top two activities of the international traveler, shopping and dining. Packaged with the rich history that each project brings to the brand, the traveler will be able to see and do everything they desire in one main attraction in each city.” The new structure is important to the continuing growth of downtown Manhattan and the neighborhood us students call home.