Holiday Season at the Seaport

BY JANEL BLADOW | Shoppers are franticly walking along Broad and Wall and around the Seaport, hunting for gifts… keep neighborhood stores bustling – shop locally!

Happy Union…
Friends and family celebrated with Jeremy and Cheryl Holin the marriage of their son Jason and his lovely, longtime complementing half Erin. The happy couple who has been together more than five years and have a gorgeous little boy Caleb married on Thanksgiving Day in a quiet ceremony with their families. That Saturday, Nov. 26, the doors to Meade’s on Peck Slip and Jeremy’s Ale House on Front Street were flung open and guests partied between the two drinking and dining establishments.

Upstairs at Meade’s partiers were treated to beautiful fall decorations and a buffet of shrimp, a little roasted suckling pig and all sorts of cheeses and salads. Splits of champagne rested in giant tubs of ice while the groom’s brother Lee oversaw the festivities. The crowd swelled by the tenfold when the bus from Long Island arrived with friends from the Jeremy’s Ale House Freeport establishment managed by Jason.

SR chatted at length with proud mother of the bride Kim who with her husband came down from their home in upper Vermont. She talked of how much fun the wedded couple is and how much they enjoy their travels, having recently been to Singapore. She said she hopes when they make their next trip – a honeymoon – they might leave the little one home with her. Grandma wants to play with the cutie.

Meanwhile, Caleb was outside posing for photos with an adorable little girl, both looking beyond cute. Both sets of parents and the bride and groom soon joined in for fun family snaps. Groups of guests wandered around the corner to the Ale House where another spread, including hot dishes such as calamari, ribs and meatballs, waited. And more drinks and champagne!

By the time SR kissed the happy couple and said our goodbyes to his parents and hers, the crowd had thinned and all knew this would be a party long remembered.

Remembering Old Times…
A few days later, SR moseyed over to the Ale House to visit Jeremy, who is thinking of making a run for a seat on Community Board 1. If there’s anyone who has witnessed the change of the neighborhood and been a part of the area’s growth, it’s Jeremy. The highly successful tavern keeper who started out with a pushcart selling buckets of beer to the fishmongers reminisced about days gone by. And he isn’t happy with many of the changes he sees.

“They made this neighborhood Queens,” he said correcting a misquote some while ago in the paper of record. “I said they made Times Square into Disneyland and the Seaport into Queens. It isn’t what it used to be. It’s residential and not a destination.”

Jeremy, who first came to South Street in 1974, supported the idea of a long-time Seaport champion Peter Stanford who wanted vendors who proved themselves after two years of business in the old marketplace to be given a space and a five year lease to renovate some of the old buildings along Fulton Street. “But the city threw Peter out and made it a mall.”

He talked joyfully about some of the old characters who made up the colorful neighborhood, such as seaman/sailor/sea captain extraordinaire, Jerry Driscoll (who founded the Circle Line), and Carmine of his namesake restaurant on Beekman St. “Jerry was a rich guy but he lived in the SRO above the Paris Café, the Meyer’s Hotel. I asked him why, when he could afford to live anywhere. ‘Listen kid,’ he said, ‘I can only wear one pair of pants at a time. I can only be in one room at time.’ But you have a toilet down the hall, I protested. ‘Kid, how often do I use that?’ He had no car but limos would be around the building at all hours. Rich guys came to borrow money from him.”

Jeremy says that several local businessmen went to the City to try and buy abandoned buildings. “We were willing to pay market rate and fix them up but they wouldn’t sell to any of us. Then some guy gets buildings for a dollar each?” Consider it a rip-off.

“It’s not a neighborhood anymore,” he says then talks about what he would have liked to see happen down here. “Tourists used to come, you had the marketplace, you had the fish market, you had interesting shops and great restaurants. They could have brought in the flower market, the vegetable market, the meat market, and made this a destination, a real tourist attraction like Seattle did. Instead it’s just a mall and apartments.” Real estate won.

Happy Holidays and wishing you all a wonderful New Year.