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History of South Street Seaport

Even the cobblestone paths at the South Street Seaport have a part in the rich history in New York.

Even the cobblestone paths at the South Street Seaport have a part in the rich history in New York.

A National Historic District since 1978, the South Street Seaport comprises the largest concentration of restored early 19th-century commercial buildings in New York City. Renovated mercantile buildings, sailing ships, and former fish markets may all be found at the South Street Seaport NYC, along with modern tourist malls and upscale NYC restaurants.

The history of the South Street Seaport makes it a fun place for the whole family.

The history of the South Street Seaport makes it a fun place for the whole family.

The South Street Seaport began in the 1700s, when the Schermerhorns, a family of shipmasters and chandlers, purchased what is now known as the Seaport District, an area roughly bounded by Peck Slip, Water Street, John Street, and the East River. In 1810, Peter Schermerhorn built a series of conjoined buildings to house merchants of related trades. This structure, known as Schermerhorn Row, drew many patrons from the waterfront and downtown areas and was an unprecedented financial success.

Merchants, ship chandlers, sailmakers and figurehead carvers took their homes and businesses here in the 1800s.

Merchants, ship chandlers, sailmakers and figurehead carvers took their homes and businesses here in the 1800s.

As the center of shipping between 1815 and 1860, the Seaport was known by seafarers all over the globe. The bustling community that developed catered specifically to sailors' needs; merchants, ship chandlers, sailmakers, and figurehead carvers took up residence alongside boarding houses, saloons, and brothels. By 1880, cargo ships had grown dramatically in size and the industry grew out of South Street.

The 20th century, however, saw a decline in the Seaport. By the 1960s, having fallen into disrepair, the area was slated for demolition. But in 1967 a group of concerned citizens led by Peter and Norma Stanford obtained a charter creating the Seaport Museum. This group then purchased many of the dilapidated and uninhabited buildings and introduced a number of historic vessels to the area, thereby founding a maritime museum.

Throughtout the late 1970s, the Museum's trustees encouraged commercial developers to sublease shops on the ground floor. Partnering with the Rouse Company, the Museum began a 8 million project to restore and revitalize the Seaport. The project was a success, and the South Street Seaport is now fully gentrified.

Historic Ships at the South Street Seaport Museum

Next time you're in NYC, spend some time here and take home a bit of knowledge as a souvenir.

The South Street Seaport Museum NY boasts the largest privately maintained fleet of historic vessels in the United States. Among those vessels moored at the Museum pier are the Peking, 1911; the Wavertree, 1885; the Ambrose, 1908; and the Helen McAllister, 1900. Some of these historic vessels, such as the Peking, may be toured for a small fee.

Next time you're in NYC, spend some time here and take home a bit of knowledge as a souvenir.




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