A combination of maritime museum and shopping center, the South Street Seaport is a historic area where the busiest port in America was once situated. Linked to the Fulton Street that meets the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the piers, the Seaport is a designated historic district set on Lower Manhattan?s harbor with a stunning view.
The surrounding area of the Seaport, particularly the neighborhood center along Fulton Street, was once one of the most crowded streets in New York City especially when a fish market opened here in 1821. A ferry service to Brooklyn that departed here made the area popular among merchants and travelers. These are just some of the roles the Seaport portrayed during its peak in its persistent and active past.
However, the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge gave way for better opportunities for businesses causing the decline in nearby trade activities. People started moving out to look for greener pastures. The Seaport area was eventually deserted which led to its downfall.
To restore the Seaport?s grandeur, Peter and Norma Stanford, together with a group of supporters, formed the ?Friends of South Street Seaport? and established the South Street Seaport Museum in 1967. The group?s idea was to preserve the area by creating an open air museum and its main objective was to make the museum an educational historic site, surrounded with "shops" that will mostly operate as replicas of the establishment found here during the Seaport's glory days, from 1820 to 1860. However, it was only until the 1980?s before this dream was realized.
Soon after, in 1983, the South Street Seaport opened its doors again, this time for local and international visitors rather than sailors and merchants. Two years later, a new shopping center was added to make the visit to the Seaport more interesting.
The Seaport Museum covers more than 2,800 square meters of land, the whole area around South Street. Architecture enthusiasts will definitely enjoy marveling at structures and abodes hailing from the 18th and 19th centuries flanking cobblestone streets. They can also learn the key role Manhattan plays as an urban port through numerous exhibits and galleries. Likewise, the museum houses a 19th century print store as well as a compendium of sea vessels which played an integral part in history on the Street of Ships. As a street museum, this strip holds some of the most dated structures in downtown Manhattan which also includes the most number of renovated commercial buildings from the 19th century in all of New York City.