Long road to recovery for South Street Seaport

November 30, 2012 1:49:29 PM PST
What few tourists and New Yorkers come down to South Street Seaport and Pier 17 now find more boarded up shops, restaurants, and reconstruction work to look at and take pictures of in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

"Bad shape, all of these are (a lot of damage?) Yes, a lot of damage, yes," Malene Briend, a tourist.

"We were going to have lunch at South Street Seaport and it's all dark," said John McIntyre, a Mamaroneck resident.

It's leaving others to wonder, can this destination recover?

"The tourists are gone and the tourists have other places to go," said Faith Hope Consolo, the Chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman's retail group.

Consolo, like other real estate experts, is closely watching how this landmark area will weather this latest storm.

"People want to be optimistic. But this would be the third turn for the Seaport. It may just not happen. Who knows," Consolo said.

While the large Pier 17 building of shops and restaurants was not flooded, the developer says, "We are currently evaluating whether Pier 17 is structurally sound."

That may take several weeks they add but they hope it could reopen before year's end.

"That's been a basket case for a long time economically," Mayor Bloomberg said.

However, Mayor Bloomberg made a pledge.

"We will work with everybody to try and get them back on track," Bloomberg said.

This new redevelopment plan for Pier 17 is still scheduled, the developer says, to begin next year and take two years to finish.

"If and when it comes online it has to be different than before. Completely different, not just for tourists," Consolo said.

But suffering far more destruction are the shops and restaurants that line the cobblestoned Fulton Street.

Many are not able to open.

Some are still filled with debris. Their future is uncertain.

Half a block away, Darrell Hollingsworth reopened his New York City bike rentals shop, but business has suffered.

"We used to have 80 to 140 rentals a day. Now today, I have only had three. I can't afford that much longer," Hollingsworth said.

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