Things are looking very bleak for the historic South Street Seaport after Hurricane Sandy. Nearly every store suffered extensive damage and has been closed indefinitely although a very few are hanging on. Not only that but a lot residences down there were destroyed also. Right now, it’s a mess with boarded up stores, “restricted” signs up on many structures and a widespread “wet” smell pervading the entire area.
Interestingly, the New Amsterdam Market, a collection of food purveyors that has been valiantly trying to make it near the site of the old Fulton Fish Market every Sunday, is now thriving and pretty much the only game in town down there. It’s almost a return to old New York where peddlers — not stores — were the first to sell their wares. The purveyors of the New Amsterdam Market are hardly peddlers but they do sell from temporary stands. It was better NOT to have a store, given the destruction that Sandy rained down on the area.
The Seaport is now close to what it was circa 1980 before the grand renovation. If there’s a positive in all this, it’s that it’s a chance for city planners to re-envision the area. It seems a sure bet the crowds will return because the Seaport, for all its schlockiness and chain stores galore, always was a popular tourist destination.