Since the earliest days of New York City --when it was still known as New Amsterdam-- there have been public markets and market sheds along the East River in Lower Manhattan. Remarkably, the neighborhood now called the "South Street Seaport" (in fact a 19th century Market District) preserves the last two such riverfront market sheds ever to be built: the Old Market (Tin Building), constructed in 1907; and the New Market, inaugurated by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1939, both occupied by the Fulton Fish Market until 2005.
In 2006, New Amsterdam Market began advocating the rehabilitation of these two irreplaceable city-owned assets, while retaining their function as wholly public markets. This position reflected the original Vision for the Seaport, endorsed in 1968 by City Hall, ordinary citizens from all five Boroughs, and the philanthropic community: that this District's buildings, streets, and piers be preserved intact for future generations, and given authentic new uses reflecting local history while meeting contemporary needs.
While the vision we articulated evolved and gained detail over the years, its fundamental principles remained unaltered: public assets must be used for public purposes, as determined via a transparent planning process. More specifically: 1) there should be no further disposition of any public-owned properties to private developers, particularly the Tin Building and New Market Building, but also a number of other public assets that are not part of the 1981"Marketplace" lease between EDC and Howard Hughes; 2) these public assets should be restored with public and philanthropic funds, and retained for community and other civic uses; 3) the New York City Landmarks Designation for the South Street Seaport Historic District should be extended to include the New Market Building; 4) all public properties in the Seaport District and along the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan should be governed by a dedicated LDC or similar authority, as advocated by the 2006 SeaportSpeaks conference; and 4) future uses should be determined via a transparent and comprehensive planning process that includes community input.
The public testimony, discussions with the press, and informational materials compiled in the documents section of this website represent the many years of advocacy for this specific vision.