Testimony to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission on the South Street Seaport Historic District

NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

Re: LPC-21-04480 & LPC-21-03235 

89 South Street (aka 175 John Street) & 

250 Water Street - South Street Seaport Historic District 

January 4, 2021

Adam Ganser, Executive Director

Hello, I'm Adam Ganser, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. Thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of the proposed design and worthy goals of the South Street Seaport Museum and 250 Water Street proposals.

The best urban open spaces encourage healthy activity, foster community, and strengthen the local economy. It's easy to forget that these spaces do not just "happen." They are the result of smart leadership decisions - and dedication on the part of organizations, to ensure they are safe, accessible, resilient, well-maintained, and inclusive.

We are encouraged by the previous investments in improving open space along the East River waterfront and in the Seaport Historic District made by the Howard Hughes Corporation. The revitalization of Pier 17 and the Tin Building, the preservation of historic structures and cobblestones of the district, and HHC’s ongoing work to maintain the East River Waterfront Esplanade all demonstrate a longstanding commitment to this historic and vital stretch of NYC’s waterfront. This project presents an opportunity to go even further - by refurbishing Titanic Memorial Park, Pier 16, and creating a Peck Slip play street for adjacent public schools and neighborhood families. These are just the type of ideas the city needs now as our collective reliance on open spaces has been made so clear over the last several months.

As the City must work to ensure our parks are welcoming to all New Yorkers, we must also be building affordable housing that is walkable to our city's world-class parks and open spaces. This project does just that. New Yorkers for Parks supports HHC's plan to remediate the non-contributing parking lot at 250 Water Street, and build a thoughtfully designed, appropriately scaled building with a low podium and setbacks that will move development rights off the waterfront; a plan that includes affordable housing and, importantly, provides a revenue stream for the imperiled, nonprofit South Street Seaport Museum the heart of this neighborhood.

This is a plan the Landmarks Commission and the City of New York should hold up as an example of forward-thinking, environmentally responsible, inclusive, and equitable planning for the future. Thank you.

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For over 100 years, New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) has built, protected, and promoted parks and open spaces in New York City. Today, NY4P is the citywide independent organization championing quality parks and open spaces for all New Yorkers in all neighborhoods. www.ny4p.org


Download the PDF of our testimony