The last time I visited the South Street Seaport Museum was in 1984 when it had just opened. That is probably the case with many New Yorkers, and the reason for its long slow decline. Even though I printed 2 photography shows for the museum, the exhibitions were held at a smaller Water Street gallery. So I had forgotten what an amazing space the museum has on Fulton Street. Five floors across interconnected buildings, the galleries wonderfully incorporate the historic uses of the spaces (graffiti from 19th century workmen, a burlap bag tumbler, old hotel rooms) with the exhibits inside. Now taken over by the Museum of the City of New York, the Seaport is getting a second chance. Boldly incorporating new material--such as Edward Burtynsky's photos of ship-breaking in India and photos of the Occupy Wall Street movement--with its historic collections, and modern design locally produced, the museum feels really fresh and interesting. If they can keep it up and expand into their other spaces, maybe the Seaport will become a destination once again.
Edward Burtynsky's ship breaking photos at the new South Street Seaport Museum.
Shipwright's tools from the museum's collection.