Last night, at 6:00p.m. sharp, Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee kicked off a public hearing on the Howard Hughes Corporation’s controversial plans to remake New York City’s South Street Seaport. The event was held at St. Paul’s Chapel in Lower Manhattan and it was standing room only before anybody got up to the mic. By five after, people waiting on the chapel steps were being turned away.
[ Editor’s Note: The following letter was left in the comments section of archpaper.com in response to Alan G. Brake’s editorial “The Seaport Adrift” (AN 09_07.23.2014), which argued for more programming at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, such as housing. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email email@example.com. ]
How would adding housing help connect the building to its surroundings? The seaport is inherently a destination for most of the people who use it. The pop-up food market was perhaps the best-suited program for the site.
After seven years in business, the New Amsterdam Market near New York City’s South Street Seaport is closing up shop. “We held a total 88 markets and numerous innovative celebrations of our region’s bounty; supported nearly 500 food entrepreneurs; and contributed to the creation of more than 350 jobs,” Robert LaValva, the market’s founder, said in a statement. “However, I was never able to raise the funding or attract the influential backers needed for our organization to thrive.”
The South Street Seaport‘s Pier 17 won’t be around much longer in its current form as it awaits a $200 million overhaul by SHoP Architects, but this summer, the neighborhood surrounding it has some exciting plans in store that bring the hottest trends in temporary urbanism to the waterfront site. Starting on Memorial Day Weekend, the See/Change program will bring film screenings, a SmorgasBar, and pop-up shipping container boutiques in hopes of enticing New Yorkers back to this once-trendy Lower Manhattan neighborhood.
Last Wednesday, the New York City Council unanimously approved plans to tear down the current Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport and build a new $200 million SHoP Architects-designed mall in its place, marking the end of the long and sometimes contentious ULURP approval process. Crain’s reported that Dallas-based developer Howard Hughes made some concessions to the council including pushing back construction on the project to allow Hurricane Sandy-battered tenants to have an additional summer season, with construction now anticipated to begin on October 1st.
It seems that a proposal to make the New Amsterdam Market a permanent fixture in the South Street Seaport’s former Fulton Fish Market building has every food critic and preservationist in New York City revved up, and touting the plan as the next big game-changing development for Lower Manhattan. New York Times opinion and food columnist Mark Bittman went so far as to say that this expansive food market has “wonderful potential that dwarfs even that of the High Line.”
Solar-Powered Fun. New York City’s first solar merry-go-round just opened at the South Street Seaport, offering free rides to kids through September 7th. GE’s Carousolar is powered by 100 solar panels made of ultra thin semiconductors able to withstand extreme humidity and UV ray exposure. The green fun isn’t just for kids—GE also provided solar-powered cell phone charging stations for adults around the carousel, reported Inhabitat.
Sun-Filled Fasting. According to Dubai’s top cleric Mohammed al-Qubaisi, residents of the Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest skyscraper, will have to wait a few extra minutes to break their fast during Ramadan. Muslims living above the tower’s 80th floor should fast two additional minutes after dusk while those above the 150th floor wait an additional three minutes, The Guardian reported. Al-Qubaisi explained that just like early Muslims living in the mountains, the residents of the highest floors must adjust their fast due to the extended visibility of sunlight.
#ThingsNotToDoOnPublicTransportation. Public Transportation is trending on Twitter and the end result is a humorous user guide to transit etiquette. Transportation Nation rounded up some of their family-friendly favorites.
LEGO Gate. While not yet officially announced, European blogs have been abuzz that the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin will be the next in LEGO’s Architecture line of miniature real buildings. Unbeige revealed the series’ designer Adam Reed Tucker developed the Brandenburg model, representing the 2nd building outside of the US (the first was SOM’s Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai).