The area around the South Street Seaport on the East River in lower Manhattan was particularly hard hit by the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy. The rising water reached the first floor eaves, devastating homes and businesses.
The only good news was that the seven historic vessels at the South Street Seaport Museum rode out the storm without damage. “All vessels rode out the hurricane Sandy and the surge with very little difficulty, thanks to days of preparation and a right on-the-money calculation about the amount of slack needed for the lines securing the Peking, the Wavertree, and the Ambrose to Pier 15 and Pier 16,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York and President of the South Street Seaport Museum. (Thanks to Jeff Simmons for the heads-up.)
The no good, really, really, bad news however, is that the South Street Seaport Museum‘s shore facilities were terribly damaged by the flood. The Museum has only recently begun to recover from a financial disaster, reopening only last January with new funding and management from the Museum of the City of New York. They have an eighteen month time window to put the museum back on its feet and had been making steady progress before being literally hit by a surging wall of water. From a statement by Susan Henshaw Jones:
It is not just that there was five feet of filthy, oil-laced surge in our lobby, wiping out the systems that run the escalator, the elevators, and the heating and air conditioning, it is not just the clean-up; it is the loss of revenue that we had been building so diligently. Consider the following:
Our rental tenants, Josh Bach’s store on Fulton Street and Skipper’s outdoor restaurant on Pier 16, suffered extensive flood damage and may not be able to reopen. Indeed, the surge reached Skipper’s eaves–it is amazing that it is still there at all.
Bowne & Co., Stationers was most seriously damaged in that 217 drawers of accessioned type were soaked by the surge. Efforts to dry the type and keep it from deforming are hindered by the lack of power downtown.
School programs, a good source of income, will be slow in returning, given the loss of classroom time during this week’s closing.
In spite of the elevation of our lobby, the café, the admission desk and its computer, and the Museum Shop have been destroyed.
The Seaport District has been devastated. Even if we are able to open next week, we face outside a huge loss in passersby and tourists. To-date, there are only gawkers.
So please send whatever you can! A gift of any size will be so gratefully appreciated and may be mailed to Susan Henshaw Jones, South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton Street, New York, New York 10038.