The South Street Seaport district of Lower Manhattan is one of the largest protected historic districts in the city and an increasingly popular tourist destination. Anchoring the row of historic 19th-century homes and stunning riverside view of Brooklyn is the South Street Seaport Museum. As commercial development continues to influence the area, the museum maintains several different buildings as well as the fleet of 19th-century sailing vessels docked picturesquely below the Brooklyn Bridge.

What You Will See

The museum tackles a variety of themes while exploring the long history of maritime trade in New York City and the country. Visitors are welcomed to explore a number of exhibitions hosted along historic Schermerhorn Row or drop into the legendary Bowne Print Shop. Entrance to the museum also includes access to two of the restored and preserved tall ships on the river. The highlight of any visit is a walking tour conducted by engaging museum guides and history experts. The area is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, so certain areas of the museum remain closed, but these days you can hardly tell the seaport was once under 7 feet of water.

Why You Should Go

While technological and economic changes have removed Manhattan from modern maritime trade, New York Harbor was once the busiest and most important port of trade in the world. Few reminders of New York's maritime heyday remain, but the city would not be what it is today without the centuries of ships docking along the river. Southstreet Seaport--an official member of "America's Maritime Museum"--is the best place to experience what was once the dominating economic and cultural force in the city.