Important News About Our Future
I am sharing this article that ran in amNY yesterday, which highlights the benefits the South Street Seaport Museum could receive as a result of a plan put forth in the district. Chief among these are elements that would help provide for the Museum’s long term sustainability as well as for reopening Museum galleries.

I wanted to be the first to connect with you, to lay out what this could mean for the future of our organization and how we can work together to ensure a vibrant future for the Seaport Museum, for downtown, and all of New York City. 

We all know the crucial role that the South Street Seaport Museum plays; it is a rare connection point to the birth of one of the world’s great cities and to the people who made our city the global hub of innovation and commerce it is today. 

We launched Our City Our Seaport: Campaign to Save the Seaport Museum to help preserve this institution that means so much to so many of us. COVID-19 has badly impacted the Museum’s bottom line, just the latest in a series of blows over the past twenty years, from 9/11 to the 2008 Financial Crisis and Hurricane Sandy. Much of the Museum is still inaccessible because of damage from that storm.  

Maintaining this institution is expensive; we preserve some of the oldest buildings in New York, tens of thousands of historic documents, and a fleet of historic ships--artifacts, really-- that sit in sea water. Without reliable recurring revenue, the Museum has long struggled financially despite incredible programmatic and curatorial successes. Now, with major funding sunsetting next year, unfortunately the future of our institution is deeply unclear.  

We must preserve the South Street Seaport Museum as we rebuild New York. 

We believe the proposal put forward by The Howard Hughes Corporation and explained in the AM New York article would go a very long way to ensuring that our beloved Museum survives and thrives. Their plan would redevelop the parking lot at 250 Water Street into a mixed income apartment building and at the same time provide the Museum with a reliable recurring revenue stream and the ability to fully reopen.  

We are not real estate developers; we are stewards of the Museum and its historic district. The two—the Museum and the district—are inextricably linked. One cannot be what it is without the other. Development, in particular, the type of development proposed here, was one of the earliest tools used to create and support the Museum and the District, and in this instance, it could provide a crucial path forward for this place we love. It likely goes without saying that without intervention at this scale, the future of the Museum is incredibly uncertain.

I hope you will consider showing your support for this phase of the Our City Our Seaport: Campaign to Save the Seaport Museum by texting to 22828 or signing up on our website below.  In the coming weeks, our coalition of supporters will be asked to write letters to their elected officials and join virtual hearings in helping to elevate the impact of this crucial institution.

Thank you for standing with the Seaport Museum through this latest storm. And in the meantime, we all look forward to gathering in person next year on South Street.
Capt. Jonathan Boulware
President and CEO
Below is a sampling of recent comments specifically advocating for supporting the Seaport Museum:
"At a time when New York City is under so much stress from the pandemic and the economic downturn, this project is an exciting vote of confidence in the future, bringing affordable housing — a top priority for our community for many years — as well as long-term viability for the Seaport Historic District and Museum, and critical brownfield remediation, while removing a surface parking lot with legacy fossil-fuel infrastructure that has been an eyesore and a drag on community redevelopment for decades," said Catherine McVay Hughes, South Street Seaport Museum Board member and former Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1. "It also represents the first pandemic-recovery investment downtown, reminiscent of early investment following 9/11."

“The Seaport Museum and the Historic District were created to support each other,” said Brendan Sexton, Chair of the Board of the Museum, the former President of the Municipal Art Society, and former Commissioner of Sanitation. “The Museum was to grant the District a unique and culturally rich identity and the District was to share its value—specifically its real estate value—to sustain the Museum. This latest proposed air rights transfer makes that concept real and will allow the Museum its first ever reliable, recurring income stream. With this, we will build on decades of good work to provide this community, the City, and the world the story of New York's origins, the birth of the port of New York and its nurture into today’s world capital.”
“As a longtime resident of Southbridge Towers and someone who has been active in the community for decades, this exciting new plan proposed by HHC for 250 Water Street is the first plan to incorporate a viable fiscal support mechanism for our cherished South Street Seaport Museum, the cultural center of this historic neighborhood,” said Paul Hovitz, former longtime Community Board 1 member. “It's important to remember that the Save Our Seaport coalition began a few years back as the Save our Seaport Museum Coalition -- so this news will surely be cheered by many in the neighborhood. With a design appropriate to its upland location, this proposal will create a safe, more unified pedestrian experience for those of us who live nearby. And critically, it will bring the first mandatory affordable housing to Community Board 1. I’m very pleased to support this plan, which will spur economic recovery for our local small businesses and merchants, and greatly improve our community." 
"The parking lot at 250 Water has long been a void, but also an opportunity: to invest in our local economy, to create jobs, and to build sorely needed affordable housing in Community Board 1,” said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New YorkThe development proposed for the site is an opportunity that needs close and serious consideration. This plan would also bring stability to the South Street Seaport Museum, one of the area's essential cultural institutions. We look forward to the public review process athis proposal moves forward and receives the full attention it merits."
"This project presents an essential opportunity to revive one of our city's historic gems, the South Street Seaport Museum, a place dating back more than three centuries. The museum brings to life New York City’s complex maritime history for New Yorkers and visitors from around the world," said Cortney Worrall, President & CEO of the Waterfront Alliance. "The Waterfront Alliance fully endorses this proposal, which would provide a solid and innovative plan to save the Museum -- which has proved so elusive for so many years -- and ensure it thrives for many years to come."

"The South Street Seaport Museum is truly the soul of this historic neighborhood, a place that for years has brought our dynamic working waterfront history to life for so many," said Roland Lewis, former longtime President & CEO of the Waterfront Alliance. "Now, HHC is proposing a workable plan not only to get it reopened to the public but to help it thrive, solving the Seaport's Gordian knot at long last. This proposal, which maintains the neighborhood's historic relationship with the waterfront, would provide New York City—the city of water—with a tremendous and lasting benefit. There is no doubt that this is the right path forward for the Seaport."

“I've lived and worked in Lower Manhattan for many years and have seen first-hand the thoughtful planning and positive changes that Howard Hughes has brought to our unique waterfront community,” said Denise Courter, Founder of FiDi Families. “The proposal for 250 Water Street will at long last transform a barren parking lot into a project that knits together the fabric of the neighborhood. The importance of providing affordable housing and community space, along with crucial funding for the South Street Seaport Museum, cannot be overstated. This proposal would be a very welcome investment in the Seaport's future at a time when New York City needs it most,"

“As an educator with deep ties to the Seaport community, there is no question in my mind that this plan for 250 Water charts the best course forward for families, businesses and workers in our neighborhood,” said Kimberly Busi, MD, Founder & Head of School, The Quad Preparatory School. ”Over the years, Howard Hughes has been a highly responsible neighbor to the families in the Seaport, from working closely with local nonprofits to funding our beloved Seaport Museum, an essential institution that connects us to our city's waterfront history. The 250 Water Street project will help make the Seaport a better place to live and work for current residents -- and provide a home for new neighbors who otherwise might not have had the chance to live here." 
“The Seaport is the birthplace of New York and the beginning of its journey as the most important city in the world,” said Burchenal Green, President of the National Maritime Historical Society. “The South Street Seaport Museum plays a critical role in proudly preserving that history for New Yorkers. America owes its place in the world in no small part to the history that occurred at the Seaport and many of our country’s economic successes and developments sprang from the trade and innovation that happened there. The generosity of this project will ensure that the museum and its mission flourish and The National Maritime Historical Society endorses this wise investment in historical preservation that benefits all of us.”
The South Street Seaport Museum preserves and interprets the ​origins and growth of New York City as a world port, a place where goods, labor, and cultures are exchanged through work, commerce, and the interaction of diverse communities.