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From Blueprints to Construction

In the early 1970s the South Street Seaport Museum commissioned an architectural assessment and plan for the redevelopment of the seaport. The plan included several sketches of what the architects hoped the seaport would look like in the near future, along with recommendations for development. Here we have reproduced these sketches, along with photographs taken from similar vantage points in October 2007. You can decide for yourself whether or not the initial sketches have been honored. Click each image to expand to a full-size version.

Plans circa 1973 Actual conditions 2007
Looking north down Front Street, right hand side, prior to the intersection with Beekman Street but after Fulton Street. Notice the brick streets closed to traffic. Same view, north down Front Street. Here one can see are national retail stores like GAP and J.Crew, and the famous BODIES exhibit. J. Crew occupies building 203, which is easily identifiable in the previous picture.
Looking further north on Front Street after the intersection with Beekman Street but before the intersection with Peck's Slip. The architects envisioned this to be a "street of crafts". Same view, north down Front Street before Peck's Slip. The sign for Peck's Slip is in the middle. The left is lined with nice restaurants. Directly ahead in the white-painted brick building on Peck's Slip is the South Street Best Western hotel.
The festival pavillion as it was designed to look on Pier 17, with a large open space covered by a canopy. The architects zoned 250,000 square feet of space to allow shops and public space to contribute to the seaport. This picture is hardly identifiable to the old picture other than the placement of the Brooklyn Bridge in the background and the proximity to the water's edge. On the left is the Pier 17 seaport mall.
Architect's conception of what the Pier 17 mall would look like. Note the idea for a food market on the left side. Inside the Pier 17 Mall, at the vantage point that most resembles the original sketch. Notice the shops and pagodas, most of which are not nautically-themed.
Looking across Pearl Street - the Western entrance to the South Street historical district. The East River lies about 3 blocks behind that building. Similar view, looking across Pearl Street. Notice how the trees now cover the facade of the building. The Titanic Memorial stands on the right. Directly to the left one can see the fence to Pearl Street Park, which houses a playground.

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