The Seaport district dates back to the 1600‘s and, over a period of 300 years, grew into one of the City‘s most vital commercial centers, serving as the international gateway to New York. In fact, New York became a great city because of its access to the sea and through the 17th and 18th centuries, the city and the port grew steadily. By the start of the 19th century, the port --located along South Street -- had begun a period of intense growth and activity. Enterprising merchants created new waterfront land here for hastily-built warehouses and counting-houses to handle the wealth of goods coming in and out of the city by ship.
The district received further boosts from the inauguration of Fulton‘s Brooklyn ferry service in 1814, and the establishment of the Fulton Market in 1822. As part of this redevelopment, the streets that run through the heart of the Seaport were closed to traffic and repaved with cobblestones, making it a unique place in all of Manhattan for people to get away from the frenetic pace of the city to eat, shop, stroll and view river front activities.
The South Street Seaport Museum, founded in 1967, is an integral part of the Seaport community -- in fact, the architectural landmarks that line the streets and the historic ships docked at the Seaport, which form the Street of Ships, comprise much of the Museum.
The shops and restaurants that today fill the historic buildings have created -- in spirit and activity -- a contemporary version of the original Seaport community. The Pier 17 Pavilion stands on the site of the fish market‘s old piers. In 1982, the decaying platforms of the old Pier 17 were demolished, and reconstruction began.
The pavilion‘s promenades, which opened for business in 1985, offer sweeping views of the Brooklyn Bridge to the north and New York harbor to the south. Containing a variety of retail establishments and restaurants, its design recalls the recreational piers that dotted the Manhattan shoreline in the 19th century. The Fulton Market Building, built in 1983, is the fourth structure to claim this site -- and the name -- Fulton Market.
There has been a Market on this block (between Front and South Streets) since 1822. Today, the Fulton Market Building houses, Bridgewaters, one of New York City‘s finest private party facilities, a 20,000 square foot Gap store, and IL Porto on the street level. The rest of the building is currently under renovation, preparing for new, exciting merchants.