Historic ship at South Street Seaport set to once again welcome visitors

A limited number of guests will be able to tour the Wavertree at South Street Seaport this September. (Photo by Richard Bowditch/South Street Seaport Museum)

One of the hallmark attractions at South Street Seaport, the 135-year-old tall ship Wavertree, is ready to welcome visitors aboard again. 

The South Street Seaport Museum announced Monday that the public will be able to again take limited tours of the historic ship in September. Entry is free, but visitors must reserve times and passes in advance.

“The Seaport Museum is thrilled to welcome back visitors to our historic ship Wavertree on select days in September,” said Museum President and CEO Captain Jonathan Boulware. “The COVID-19 pandemic has kept New Yorkers at home for the last five months, and now we are pleased to safely open the outdoor spaces of our flagship at no cost to our community, which has been so steadfast in supporting our work during this difficult time.”

The Wavertree (Photo by Richard Bowditch/South Street Seaport Museum)

Docked at South Street Seaport’s Pier 16 and offering spectacular views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines, the wrought-iron Wavertree serves as an archetype of the sailing ships that crossed the globe during the latter part of the 19th century. She was saved in 1968 from industrial use in South America, and brought to the Seaport Museum to become the centerpiece of the institution’s “Street of Ships.”

Over the last half-century, thousands of tourists have gazed upon and toured the Wavertree, gaining an appreciation for the history of sailing and shipping along the way. The old ship underwent a $13 million renovation between 2015 and 2016, funded by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs through allocations from the Mayor’s office, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and the City Council.

Various safety protocols will be instituted when visitors are welcomed back to the Wavertree in September. All visits will be self-guided along a self route; no more than 35 people will be allowed on board at any time to encourage social distancing. All guests over the age of two must wear masks.

Moreover, only the exterior parts of the Wavertree will be open to the public; interior spaces will remain off-limits.

While visiting the Wavertree, guests can also enjoy the museum’s new outdoor exhibition on Pier 16, which features panels and window graphics celebrating the generations of people who have lived and worked in the South Street Seaport Historic District. The museum also offers an outdoor, pop-up gift shop.

The Wavertree will be open to visitors with timed entries from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on four Saturdays, Sept. 5, 12, 19 and 26, and one Sunday, Sept. 6. Museum members will be able to take a tour on a special preview day this Saturday, Aug. 29, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To reserve your tickets for timed entry, visit seaportmuseum.org/visitwavertree.

(Photo by Richard Bowditch/South Street Seaport Museum)