A History of Pier 17

Located in New York City’s founding neighborhood, Pier 17 is drenched in history. A stone’s throw from the Financial District and The World Trade Center, the area has more recently been synonymous with Wall Street workers and tourists visiting the 9/11 Memorial. But this summer changes all that with the re-launch of Pier 17 at the Seaport District NYC.

Home to the Seaport Museum and the city’s largest concentration of restored maritime buildings, Pier 17 is being reclaimed for New Yorkers via dynamic food, drink, art, architecture, retail, and entertainment concepts that foster community and engage the city’s denizens, year-round. Pier 17 and the surrounding Seaport District comes out of its tourist trap shadows as its new tenants incorporate the neighborhood’s rich past, while embracing its future as a port of discovery.

For history buffs, Pier 17 is one of the most interesting places in NYC. The economic growth of New York in the first half of the 19th century was driven by the Port of New York’s position as an import–export exchange and cargo center for emerging American and global markets. The Seaport and Pier 17 became a gateway for international shipping, maritime activities and the wholesale fish trade. South Street was known as the “Street of Ships” and the Wavertree, which is docked alongside Pier 17 to this day, arrived in New York City in 1895 en route to Calcutta with jute cargo aboard. The ship was acquired by the South Street Seaport Museum in 1968 and went through a 16-month, $13 million restoration. “These are the kinds of ships that built New York,” says Jonathan Boulware, executive director of the South Street Seaport Museum. A hub of commercial virtue (the finance, sea trade and printing press businesses were all located in this dense port) and accompanying vice (the area is home to some of the city’s oldest drinking dens, which played host to all manner of illicit activities back in the day), the Seaport was the first 24-hour district in New York, hence the phrase “the city that never sleeps”.