Amongst the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan tucked in on the Lower East Side is the South Street Seaport, one of the New York City’s thriving heritage villages. The precinct was once an important trading port between the 1820 and the 1860’s but like most cities around the world modernisation and the need for more space moved the port facilities away from the heart of the city.
In 1967 the South Street Seaport Museum was founded and helped remind people of the important heritage and value of the area. Then in 1998 a 12 square block historic district was designated by Congress forming “America’s National Maritime Museum”. This protects the area for ever and the South Street Sea Port is one of New York City’s great treasures.
The precinct now houses museums; libraries craft centres and dozens of galleries, boutiques and some great dining including bakeries, breweries and marketplaces.The centrepiece of the seaport is Pier 17 which is a huge shopping and entertainment complex with lots of tourist based shopping, river view dining and a large festival food court with great selection of cuisine.
In the area around Pier 17 there is a wonderful collection of historic ships, this collection is the largest privately owned historic fleet in the USA and has as its centrepiece the Peking which is a four masted barque built in 1911. Other notable sea craft include the Wavetree which is a rigged cargo ship dating back to 1885, the Ambrose a 1908 lightship a 1900 Tugboat called Helen McAllister.