A History of Lower Manhattan at the South Street Seaport Museum

I recently traveled down the cobbled streets of Lower Manhattan to visit the newly reopened South Street Seaport Museum. Surrounded by the 19th century brick buildings, it truly felt as if I had been transported to a time when the Seaport was a bustling center of maritime trade. As I approached the pier two large sailing vessels rose up in front of me, which only reinforced the feeling that I had stepped back in time.

If you have a moment, stop by the pier to take in these historic ships. They both belong to the South Street Seaport Museum, but don’t delay! The Peking – a German barque – is scheduled to return to Hamburg shortly and will reside at its maritime museum. The Wavertree is not to be missed either, and as the largest large iron sailing vessel afloat today, it is quite impressive.

The newly reopened museum provides visitors with a discourse not only on the history of the Seaport, but on the city of New York and its history of manufacturing and trade. Each room shares its own unique story, from the “Timescapes” video that provides visitors with an orientation to the museum to the “Super Models” room that displays a variety of model ships. There is something for everyone at the South Street Seaport Museum.

Although there is a heavy focus on history, the museum also looks at the present day as well as at the future of manufacturing in New York City. The three “Made in New York” rooms display products that are still made in the city. From high-end fashion to décor made from recycled dry cleaner hangers, it’s clear to see that New York City is still a major center for production and manufacturing.

The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 6 PM. General admission is $10, free for children under 9 and $6 for seniors and students. The museum also has plenty of ongoing talks and tours. Check out the schedule for upcoming events.