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					SPEAKS
Charrette Report | September 2006

AUTHENTICITY

CONNECTIVITY

URBANITY

HISTORICITY

V I TA L I T Y

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

Cover photo: Robert Simko

Michael Molinoff

On March 30 and 31, 2006, seventy individuals
met under the auspices of SeaportSpeaks for an evening and daylong charrette on the future of the South Street Seaport Historic District. Inspired by the history of this unique corner of New York, and passionate about its future as it faces a period of change and uncertainty, the group, comprising district residents; architects and planners; city officials; developers; waterfront experts; museum professionals; preservationists and historians examined issues, shared concerns, and imagined a future that would preserve the best of the Seaport’s past, while producing an authentic urban district for local residents, area workers, and visitors.

SeaportSpeaks believes that these developments provide both opportunity and risk to this fragile neighborhood, whose historic buildings have been preserved but whose open spaces, demographics, sense of place, and commercial and cultural future are all in play. Participants identified six qualities that are essential to the District’s future

health: Authenticity, Connectivity, Urbanity, Historicity, Vitality, and Sustainability. In addition, charrette participants produced preliminary recommendations for specific areas of concern: the waterfront, Pier 15, the slips, retail development, historic assets, and governance.

E V E N T S T H AT I N S P I R E D T H E C H A R R E T T E

The departure of the Fulton Fish Market A booming residential population

The issuance by the City of the East River Waterfront Study, and by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation of the Fulton Corridor Plan

The transfer of the District’s major commercial leases from The Rouse Companies to General Growth Properties

A change in leadership at the South Street Seaport Museum

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AUTHENTICITY

fulfill vision,
People are drawn to what is real, not artificial. In saving the rare historic buildings and stone-paved streets of the city’s first port, and by bringing historic ships to its piers, the District’s founders left New Yorkers a glorious legacy. The challenge today is to fulfill their vision by animating those buildings, streets and piers with uses that are true to the District’s character, while serving the needs of the residents, area workers, and visitors of today and tomorrow.

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Jordan Gruzen

satisfy

“Fully restore and continually maintain the ships.”

H O W C A N T H E S E A P O RT R E M A I N A U T H E N T I C ?
C R E A T E A T R U E M A R I T I M E P I E R 1 5 for water-oriented programming, where the South Street Seaport Museum’s ships and other historic craft can dock and be used for recreation and education:

• Build it safe and functional for the needs of ships and everyone who will access them • Keep it flat—no berms—with a surface and scale that are intrinsic to a “maritime” district • Create interest and spectacular views with an open and versatile pier— multi-use for the community—and not overbuilt
E N C O U R A G E M A R I T I M E - R E L AT E D B U S I N E S S E S A N D O R G A N I Z AT I O N S

to make a home here to retailing and restaurants that are true to the spirit and letter of the district’s traditional role as the city’s marketplace
GIVE PRIORITY

of the district’s buildings and streetscape by preserving them with sensitivity and uncommon care with the details— from the mortar between the bricks to the rivets under the FDR—since integrity is key
RESPECT THE TEXTURE AND HUMAN SCALE

current needs
“Pier 15 should not block views of the ships.”

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CONNECTIVITY

link land to water
The South Street Seaport Historic District can once again become a hub for the entire region—both a transportation node and a vibrant edge where land and water meet— and an experiential hub where past and present, culture and commerce, collide to create a stimulating urban environment.

Jordan Gruzen

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“Ships are honey for getting people to the water.”

HOW CAN WE SPUR CONNECTIVITY?
by re-developing and programming its piers and its underutilized shore—and revive South Street as “The Street of Ships”: • Build a Public Boating Center for recreation and group use, with a breakwater for a sheltered area and a walkway along it—from the Brooklyn Bridge to Pier 17 • Better adapt Piers 16 and 17 for small ferries and excursion boats • Envision an extravaganza of Tall Ships, visiting workboats and floating attractions if Piers 13 and 14 were rebuilt to accommodate them by advancing the Fulton Corridor Plan, building the Second Avenue subway with a stop on Fulton Street, and solving the significant problem of parking
MAKE THE SEAPORT MORE ACCESSIBLE T I E T H E S E A P O R T T O T H E B R O O K LY N B R I D G E C R E AT E A W E L C O M I N G , D Y N A M I C W AT E R F R O N T

with a direct route to walk

and bike
PA R T N E R W I T H T H E O T H E R W AT E R F R O N T S I T E S T H R O U G H O U T N E W YORK HARBOR

to create a web of transportation—and soon, to Governors Island and the Brooklyn Bridge Park

URBANITY

retain the essence
The South Street Seaport’s streetscapes, human scale, location, variety of uses, and inclusiveness represent the essence of city life. These qualities should be respected and enhanced through sensitive design and the development of a fertile mix of housing, recreation, retailing, restaurants and entertainment that will do more to attract visitors than a contrived “festival marketplace.”

Randy Polumbo

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“Great cities are known for their great open spaces, and this is the last unencumbered one in Lower Manhattan.”

HOW DO WE PROMOTE THE URBAN CHARACTER?
P R E S E R V E P E C K S L I P as a majestic open space—a piazza surrounded by buildings with shops and cafes—with potential for changing community and citywide uses throughout the day and seasons:

• Don’t lose sight of its historical significance as an urban working space servicing ships for 300 years—where Manhattan’s maritime-industrial history can still be experienced • Keep it simple, open and versatile with bollards separating pedestrians from cars and a textured surface of stone that’s unbroken by curbs, thru-traffic, or a large body of water
C R E AT E A N A L L N E W B U R L I N G S L I P

with a unique playground and designs that relate to the mission of the South Street Seaport Museum on its edge and keep sightlines open to the ships on the river of the local creative population of artists, writers,

TA P I N T O T H E TA L E N T

architects, and performers
BUILD A SEAPORT FOR RESIDENTS, WORKERS, AND NEW YORKERS,

rather than for tourists, so that it thrives as “a New York experience” and finds its footing again

of city life

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HISTORICITY

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Jordan Gruzen

The founders of the South Street Seaport Historic District saved it from demolition in the 1960s not because of its inherent charm, but because they believed it was important to save the place that gave rise to the global trading system that transformed the world’s economy and culture and placed New York’s Port at its center. The resources they amassed—buildings, historic ships, artifacts, oral histories, and skills— which are now in the hands of the South Street Seaport Museum, are the vital building blocks on which to create a new community, infused with the energy of past innovators and informed by the needs of today.

make history

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“The maritime is invisible. Make it visible again.”

H O W C A N W E P R O T E C T A N D P R O M O T E T H E H I S T O RY ?
I N T E G R A T E C U L T U R A L I N S T I T U T I O N S —the South Street Seaport Museum and the Seamen’s Church Institute—into all redevelopment efforts as the living, working link to the Seaport’s rich narrative—especially in light of the loss of the Fulton Fish Market:

• Develop a coherent plan for the Museum’s ships and collections “to tell the story” of the district’s maritime past • Populate South Street with the passionate and informed who share their knowledge of fish, boats, and the maritime trades for researchers and future generations— especially the archival collections of the Museum’s Melville Library
PRESERVE ORIGINAL RECORDS E N C O U R A G E O T H E R S T R O N G I N S T I T U T I O N S —The

Drawing Center and The New York Harbor School—to bring their energy and vision to the District
PROTECT THE ARCHAEOLOGY

beneath the streets and piers during re-construction

N U R T U R E T H E S U C C E S S S T O R I E S , such as the Museum’s Bowne and Company Stationers, as models for cultural and commercial partnerships

the cornerstone
“Cultural stewardship is critical.”

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V I TA L I T Y

maintain integrity
The words invariably used to describe South Street throughout its history are bustling and gritty— words that connote that this waterside spot has always been a natural magnet for a mix of people, and hotbed of human creativity and commerce.

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Jordan Gruzen

with 21st

“The buzzword is uniqueness.”

H O W C A N W E T R I G G E R V I TA L I T Y ?
R E - B R A N D T H E S E A P O R T —as

in “Put the SEA back into the SEAport”—to create

interest again to reflect the Seaport’s historic and maritime character as its claim on a distinctive niche in a competitive Lower Manhattan
D E V E L O P T H E C O M M E R C I A L S PA C E

• Urge developers to recruit—hard and creatively—the one-of-a-kind retailers because the long-term tenants will determine the character of the Seaport • Attract the finest restaurateurs—seafood first—as better quality restaurants will be an attraction
C R E AT E

“A

REAL NEIGHBORHOOD”

with groceries, great food, and shopping

so that residents don’t have to leave
CONSIDER A MAJOR CHANGE MAKE THE

in density without overwhelming a fragile site that New Yorkers will return to

SEAPORT

AN EXCITING PLACE

again and again

century merchandising
“Sell real things to real people”

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

6
General Growth Properties

create a partnership
As a designated Historic District, the Seaport enjoys certain protections, but it lacks a governing body to protect its historic character during a time of extensive new development by both public agencies and private developers. Such an entity must be driven by a mission to enrich and balance between the culture, history, commerce, and public space. This entity could evolve from a task force into a Local Development Corporation with authority to coordinate public agencies, to operate and maintain public areas, to develop programming, and to have some degree of power to make binding decisions.

between

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“A Board would represent the public and private stakeholders with a mechanism for community input.”

H O W C A N W E E N S U R E S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y ?
DEVELOP A GOVERNANCE MECHANISM

to carry out the vision for the City’s 2.1 mile East River Waterfront Plan with the Seaport at its heart. A new governing entity for this waterfront between Battery Park and Pier 42—including piers and slips— could take different forms: • • • • a spinoff within EDC a Deputy Mayoral Task Force with direct authority over City agencies an expansion of the downtown B.I.D. a combination of the above

mechanisms for programming and maintenance beyond LMDC’s initial $150 million capital grant for the East River Waterfront Plan. New tax structures and real estate development could funnel revenue to the area
C R E AT E F U N D I N G I N T E G R AT E T H E C U LT U R A L I N S T I T U T I O N S

into partnerships or a trust to

strengthen their effectiveness

commerce and culture
“Capture and return the investment to the area.”

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The South Street Seaport Historic District
is unique in the world. With its iconic tall-masted ships, piers reaching out toward Brooklyn, view corridors stretching from the Brooklyn Bridge to Governors Island, and stone-paved streets lined with 18thand early 19th-century commercial buildings, the Seaport—site of the original port of New York—is at once the center of the world and a place apart.
Today, this waterfront enclave is facing profound changes as its character is being transformed by residential, retail, and recreational development. Its fragile maritime culture, kept alive until 2006 by the presence of the centuriesold Fulton Fish Market, is in need of new life and purpose. The challenge for all involved in its future is to embrace the Seaport’s briny, rough-hewn charm; to respect its essential nature as a working waterfront and historic district; and to cherish and develop those core strengths in order to create a vibrant place to live, work, and visit that is also economically sustainable.

T H I S C H A R R E T T E W O U L D N O T H AV E B E E N P O S S I B L E W I T H O U T G E N E R O U S A S S I S TA N C E F R O M :

General Growth Properties Seaport Community Coalition Milstein Properties Sciame Development Yarrow LLC

Municipal Art Society Southbridge Towers Cooperative South Street Seaport Museum Seamen’s Church Institute

Pearl Street Park Association Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association Bayard's Joshua Levine 3-D Laboratory

Seaport Best Western Hotel Seaport Park Condominiums Harold Reed Kit White

PA R T I C I PA N T S I N T H E S E A P O R T S P E A K S C H A R R E T T E

GOVERNANCE
Madelyn Wils, Chair President, Tribeca Film Institute; Board Member, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Carter Craft, Coordinator Director, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance John Alschuler, President, Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc. Eric Deutsch, President, Downtown Alliance Donald Elliott, Esq., Hollyer, Brady, Barrett & Hines LLP Connie Fishman, President, Hudson River Park Trust Thomas Gochberg, Co-Founder, TGM Associates LLP; Trustee, South Street Seaport Museum Paul Goldstein, Manager, Community Board 1 William Kelley, Assistant Vice President, Special Projects, New York City Economic Development Corp. Andrew Manshel, Senior Vice President, Greater Jamaica Redevelopment Corp. Thomas McCarthy, Vice President/Group Director, General Growth Properties Robert Pirani, Director, Environmental Programs, Regional Plan Association Jonathan Rose, President, The Rose Companies (with Nicole Sherwood and Sarah Haga, Project Managers) Carl Weisbrod, President, Trinity Real Estate, Member of the Board, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Stefan Pryor, President, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (with Michael Haberman, Vice President)

Richard Blinder, Senior Partner, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners LL Norman Brouwer, Maritime Historian; Former Curator of Ships, South Street Seaport Museum Richard A. Cook, Partner, Cook + Fox Architects Jenny B. Osuldsen, Landscape Architect MNLA, Snohetta John Evans, Vice President, Real Estate, Sciame Development Michael Fortenbaugh, President, North Cove Marina Associates; Founder and Commodore, Manhattan Sailing Club Tom Fox, President, New York Water Taxi Lawrence S. Huntington, Chairman Emeritus, Fiduciary Trust Company International; Chairman, South Street Seaport Museum Malcolm McLaren, President, McLaren Engineering Group Mark Peckham, National Register Program Coordinator, Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau Linda Roche, Chair, Waterfront Committee, Community Board 1 The Rev. Jean Smith, President, Seamen’s Church Institute

Mark Newhouse, Deputy Commissioner, New York City Department of Small Business Services Marco Pasanella, Designer; Author; Proprietor, Pasanella & Son Vintners Michael Piazzola, Senior General Manager, General Growth Properties Claire Weisz, Architect, Weisz & Yoes Studio F. Anthony Zunino, Principal, Yarrow LLC Chase Welles, Senior Vice President, Northwest Atlantic Partners

Laura Starr, Coordinator, Partner, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects Andrew Berkman, Attorney, Milstein Properties Gary Fagin, Composer; Conductor; Co-Founder, Seaport Community Coalition Jared Knowles, Director of Public Projects, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Joshua Laird, Deputy Commissioner, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Kimberly Long, Architect, Project Manager, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners LLP Keith O’Connor, Senior Planner for Lower Manhattan, New York City Department of City Planning Gregg Pasquarelli, Partner, SHoP Architects Randy Polumbo, President, 3-D Laboratory; Proprietor, Dodo Cafe Harold Reed, Chair, Arts & Entertainment Task Force, Community Board 1 Jeffrey Schneider, Vice President, ABC News; Chairman, 117 Beekman Cooperative David Werber, Owner, Seaport Best Western Hotel Kit White, Architect; Artist

H I S T O R Y & C U LT U R E
Frank Sciame, Chair, C.E.O., Sciame Development Madeline Rogers, Coordinator, Director of Publications, New York Philharmonic Susan Chin, Assistant Commissioner of Capital Projects, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Marc Donnenfeld, Chair, Seaport/Civic Center Committee, Community Board 1 Stuart Frank, Senior Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum Susan Henshaw Jones, President, Museum of the City of New York Steven Jaffe, Historian; Former Curator, South Street Seaport Museum Roger Lang, Director, Landmarks Conservancy Paula Mayo, Executive Director, South Street Seaport Museum Paul Nagle, Liaison for Arts and Culture, Office of Hon. Alan J. Gerson George Negroponte, President, The Drawing Center Marci Reaven, Executive Director, City Lore Ken Smith, Landscape Architect

C O M M E R C E & R E TA I L
Michael J. Ewing, Chair, Principal, Williams Jackson Ewing Dan Pisark, Coordinator, Vice President, Retail Services, 34th Street Partnership Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director, Historic Districts Council Michael Buckley, F.A.I.A., President, Halcyon Ltd.; Director of the Columbia University Program in Real Estate Development Hugh Hardy, Principal, H3Hardy Collaboration Architecture LLC Richard Kennedy, Senior Director, Cushman & Wakefield

SPEAKERS
Warrie Price, Founder and President, The Battery Conservancy Peter Stanford, Founder, South Street Seaport Museum Frank Sciame, C.E.O., Sciame Development Raymond Gastil, Director, Manhattan Office, New York City Department of City Planning Kate D. Levin, Commissioner, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Stefan Pryor, President, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
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W AT E R F R O N T
Kent Barwick, Chair, President, Municipal Art Society Roberta Weisbrod, Coordinator President, Partnership for Sustainable Ports

U R B A N S PA C E
Jordan L. Gruzen, Chair, Partner, Gruzen Samton Architects and Planners LLP

T H A N K Y O U T O A L L T H E G E N E R O U S A N D C R E AT I V E I N D I V I D U A L S WHO PROVIDED INVALUABLE HELP

Seamen’s Church Institute The Rev. Dr. Jean R. Smith, Executive Director & President
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT MUSEUM

Denise Lalonde Ruthann Prange Julia Sullivan Richard Woodrow
CONTRIBUTORS

Christian Saucedo Steve Turtell David Valentin The Battery Conservancy Bowne & Company, South Street Seaport Museum Carla Hall Design Group Dodo Café Pasanella & Son Vintner Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, Inc. 3-D Construction
RECORDERS

THEME TEAM

Carla Hall Susan LaRosa Richard E. Mooney Jack Putnam Alison Simko Susan LaRosa
PRODUCTION

Hon. Alan J. Gerson Julie Menin Nyatt Ali Emily Cole-Kelly Jeanette Davida Stuart Frank Will Gallin Alan Gentile Tim Heyduk Stephenie Hollyman Pat Kirschner Kimberly Long Deepa Mehta Joseph Moreno Naima Rauam Carol Rauscher Jeffrey Remling Megan Root

Paula M. Mayo, Executive Director
AMERICASPEAKS

Table Tales, Grace Clerihew Michael Molinoff Photography AVHW, Brent Taylor

Washington, D.C. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Founder & President Daniel Stone, Senior Associate & Facilitator Karl Danskin Mike Smith
FA C I L I TAT O R S

Christina Ficicchia Porter-Ann Gaines Rachel Gruzen Lisabeth Klau Anna Kleppert Nicole Ogg Alex Schafren Loren Talbot Caroline Zaleski

CHARRETTE REPORT

Lee Gruzen Madeline Rogers Alison Simko Susan LaRosa Carla Hall Design Group; Kate Dautrich, Art Director

Vicky Banach Ken Broadhurst Maggie Delia Scott Gassman Lynn Jacobs

SEAPORTSPEAKS

CHARRETTE

SEAPORTSPEAKS STEERING COMMITTEE

Lee Gruzen Gary Fagin Co-Chairs

Warrie Price Chair Joanne Feltman Coordinator Leslie Molinoff Coordinator

Kent Barwick Norman Brouwer Carter Craft John Evans Paul Goldstein Susan LaRosa Sayar Lonial Paul Nagle George Negroponte Nicole Ogg

Randy Polumbo Warrie Price Madeline Rogers Frank Sciame Alison Simko Laura Starr Loren Talbot Steve Turtell Debra Wagner Roberta Weisbrod Claire Weisz

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To view the 32-page illustrated Briefing Book prepared for the charrette, please visit www.seaportspeaks.org

www.seaportspeaks.org info@seaportspeaks.org 212-267-5316 P.O. Box 435 Peck Slip Station New York, NY 10272


				
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