On a Cloudy Day at the Rebranded Seaport

The South Street Seaport has been made over a few times in the past few years, especially following Hurricane Sandy in late October of 2012. The historic seaport near the tip of Lower Manhattan on the East River took on massive amounts of water during the storm, leaving significant damage in its wake. In the years following the flood, remnants of the high water line that signified the extent of the flooding could be seen on many buildings and sign posts, but now it’s hard to find them.

Fulton Street at the South Street Seaport, now the Seaport District NYC

A visit to the Seaport reveals new efforts in re-branding the area and the highly visible corporate sponsorship underlying the financing. Shops, restaurants, and attractions are vigorously marketed as part of a whole package. It’s not the South Street Seaport anymore; it’s the Seaport District NYC. The tone is more upscale than past iterations. A New York outpost of the art-inspired Italian retailer 10 Corso Como opened this past week, filling a vast space at Fulton Market Building with artist-licensed gifts and its own signature black-and-white and circle-and-dot designs.

The Garden Bar, 19 Fulton Street, is open daily from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Compared to large retail corridors around the city where retail blight has become the sad new normal, the Seaport District looks relatively healthy in terms of open storefronts and plans for future tenants. Under the direction of the developer, the Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corporation, the revisioned seaport has taken on a coherent direction and branding. Nearby high-rise luxury buildings, either in progress or in planning stages, increases the likelihood of an even fancier seaport in the future.