Back in 2011, there was new hope for the New York’s South Street Seaport Museum when the struggling institution was rescued by the City Museum of New York. A $2 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation gave the City Museum 18 months to put the Seaport museum back on solid footing. The period was extended for an additional nine months. Things appeared to be going well until lower Manhattan was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Now, in the wake of the devastation wrought by the storm, the City Museum of New York is calling it quits and giving up on operating the seaport museum.
“Sandy really just did us in,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, the City Museum’s president, who has been stewarding both institutions in what was considered a last-ditch effort. “There still exists this huge amount of post-Sandy work that is enormous in terms of dollars, which is going to take years.”…
The City Museum had just reopened the Seaport Museum after a one-year hiatus. Sandy sent water surging to six feet at the lobby entrance, wiping out the building’s electrical systems and destroying its cafe, admission desk, computer system and gift shop.
“It’s a huge personal sadness for me,” Ms. Jones said. “It’s just not workable.”
The city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, which has been involved in helping the Seaport Museum, held out hope of a further rescue. “We’re working to see if we can find another entity” that can take over the organization, said Kate D. Levin, the cultural affairs commissioner. If no group comes forward, responsibility for the museum will fall to the New York State attorney general.