August at the Seaport

It’s a typical August here in the Seaport…

lots of visitors strolling along the piers and waterfront, people enjoying cold beverages and eats at sidewalk spots, jackhammers gnawing away at the cobblestones or new concrete buildings on the rise and rats, rats and more rats.

RAT PATROL PART 3… The City seems to be getting the message. Over the last few weeks, dozens of those ugly black rat poison plastic boxes have been secured along fences, buildings and even doorways. It’s a bit freaky to be walking by people eating and drinking while next to them sits a rat box, but what the hay? Better to see the boxes than those disgusting gray buggers.

WHERE OH WHERE HAVE OUR COBBLESTONES GONE? More Con Ed street rip-ups are happening. The power company has replaced the century-old cobbles on our Seaport streets with cement or blacktop. But long gone are the huge piles of cobblestones that used to sit near construction sites. Where’d they go? Residents need to be vigilant to ensure that the City keeps the cobbles on our streets and not take them to parks and greenways to enhance plants. Cobblestone streets are landmarks in our neighborhood. Do we want all of the original character of the South Street Seaport to be washed away?


ALL HAIL THE NEW KING & QUEEN… The Salty Paw threw its annual gala on Tuesday, Aug. 9. There was a huge turnout for this year’s Puppy Prom with four-legged contenders of all sizes, shapes wearing bangles, beads, sparkles, satin and, most of all furs! The crowd was so sartorial and splendid and spillover into Peck Slip even attracted gawkers.

More than 40 pooches came pampered to the max, dressed in doggie tuxedos and tutus. The ball gowns were all ruffles and bows – or should that be RUFF-les and Bow-wows? Pups dined on beautifully decorated, mini meat cupcakes and nibbled on all natural treats. Meanwhile their two-legged consorts sipped red or white wine and sodas, grazed on crackers, cheese, fruit and cookies. A few dropped crumbs were quickly licked up.

A variety of vendors with displays and samples talked about their products. SR had a nice long chat with Robert Downey (yep, that’s his name) of Annanmaet Pet Foods. More than 24-years ago, he began the pet food company that makes grain-free, holistic dry food, with such tantalizing names as Aqualuk (Inuit for fish), Manitok (rugged, the meat version) and Salcha (we didn’t find out what it means but it’s a combo of poultry – chicken, turkey and duck). On this diet, some of his 20 dogs have lived 17 or more years. Rob and family spend six months in Alaska every year and he mushes his sled dogs. He told SR about one day when a moose charged. He sent the dogs “home” and he tried to climb a tree but the moose cornered him and attacked, breaking bones and knocking him unconscious. When he came to, he had to crawl/walk miles back to civilization. Luckily he found his dogs and was able to sled for help.

Returning to the Salty Paw was Ira Manhoff, tri-state sales manager of The Honest Kitchen, which has dehydrated raw pet food. Ira told SR that what he loves about the little dog spa on Peck Slip is that “the people who work [there], for them it’s not just a job, they are all great animal lovers.” Our puppy Tonto Two Toes got several packets of food to try – Embark, a mix of “turkey, vegetables, fruits and love” and Zeal, “a grain-free diet made with white fish, vegetables, fruits and love.”

After a spirited raffle in which all types, sizes and styles of prizes were presented – spa treatments to treats, couture coats to fuzzy beds, photo sessions to portrait sittings – the big moment came to crown the 2011 royalty. Owner Amanda Byron Zink served as a judge along with two stars of “Doggie Moms” (NYC Life, Ch. 25 TW cable) Karen Biehl and Grace Foster. All three said the decision was difficult but there were clear frontrunners.

Taking home the crown as king was Bandit, a rescued Chihuahua decked out in dark sunglasses and a custom-made tuxedo jacket and bow tie created by his main man Anthony Rubio. Bandit is an all-star who has won many fashion shows all over the City, including Macy’s Paw-stacular. They made the trek down from the Bronx for the glittery evening. “Bandit is about 10-years old. He was found near a crack house in Brooklyn,” explained Anthony, adding that the tiny dog’s wardrobe has more than 50 unique outfits. “He lives to dress up.”

The girl all eyes were feasting on was the belle of the ball…and it was no wonder she took home the tiara. Holly, a local lovely wearing a fashionable pink and black mini net tutu and a pink sequined evening bag, was every bit the prom princess – all hundred pounds of her. A 10-month old Bernese Mountain Dog, Holly is kept in line by “mom” Kristen Tyburski of the Seaport. “Holly loves the color pink and anything girly,” Kristen told SR. “Her dad had a talk with her date and there’ll be no after parties for them!” One good reason: the princess needs her rest. She was recovering from surgery just the week before.

Judge Karen told Bandit he rocked it with his shades while Amanda cheered, saying “Holly has such grace and style. It’s great to see a big girl win.”

9-11 REMEMBERED… Producers from Reelz Channel spent two days in FiDi and the Seaport taping a special for the tenth anniversary of downtown’s most catastrophic moment. Film impresario Harvey Weinstein (Miramax), Madison Square Garden/Cablevision honcho Jim Dolan and MTV co-founder John Sykes sat down for a chat at Gild Hall on Gold Street about their seminal fundraiser, the five-hour “Concert For New York City,” which raised $30-million for our police and firefighters and their families who gave so selflessly for us. The interview with Producer Kelly Wickstrom who came in from the network’s base in Albuquerque, NM, was both poignant and fun. They talked about how top celebrities scrambled to give their time to participate and remembered being chastised for creating probably the greatest possible terrorist target ever with politicians, rock stars, film folk, other newsmakers and City first responders all in the same place at one time.  “We might as well put an X on the roof,” Dolan said of MSG. They recalled the Wow moments – Adam Sandler’s FU to Osama, when the Who walked on stage and played and seeing the front row seats filled with men and women in uniform. “Jim came up with that idea,” said Weinstein. “We needed to figure out how to get the cops and firemen into the concert without having to ask for ID. Jim said, ‘Wear their uniforms.’ Genius.

Over at 42 South Street, retired FDNY Captain James Riches spoke with such tenderness, warmth and love about his son FDNY Firefighter Jim Riches. The son was based out of the Seaport Firehouse and was one of the first rescuers on the scene. When the Captain heard of the attack he headed over from Brooklyn. He searched with teams until they found his son’s body on March 25, 2002, next to that of a woman on a stretcher. “He was always there for you,” recalled the proud father, who himself was stricken ill from his time at Ground Zero, lay in a coma and almost died. Our firehouse lost one-third of its men that day and Jim’s name along with the others are proudly painted on their trucks. We will never forget.

For more of their stories and other interviews, watch the special on September 9. (www.reelzchannel.com)

I SCREAM, U SCREAM… Don’t forget the big Ice Cream Sunday fundraiser Sunday, Aug. 21 for New Amsterdam Market, South Street between Fulton and Peck Slip. Ten of the Northeast’s innovative foodsters will whip up fun flavors using only seasonal ingredients. Among them are Gabrielle Carbone of The Bent Spoon, Walter Youngblood of KINGLeche Crème and Sophia Brittan of Victory Garden NYC. Early bird tickets are $35 for 10 mini cones starting at noon while $25 gets you eight mini cones from 1-4pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance by visiting www.newamsterdammarket.com.

WILD HORSES… The beginning of last weekend we were shouting congrats to Maura Higgins and Sherry Delamarter Holmes of Cowgirl Seahorse (Front and Dover Sts.) on the birth of their 200-plus babies. By Monday, we were saying good-bye.

Backing up, about Tuesday, Aug. 2, one of the line cooks at Seahorse was crabbing on Long Island and caught two male seahorses. Who knew? But apparently some of the many varieties of the bouncy water creatures are in northern waters. So when they were brought into the bar, Maura said they looked fat, maybe they’re pregnant. She studied up and discovered that female seahorses place their babies into the pouches of the males, who then birth them. Once the puffy water ponies got to the waterhole, Maura got them set up with an aquarium, brine shrimp and other homey touches such as a filter and fresh seaweed. It seemed to work. The fellas gave birth to more than 200 babies. They were swimming around just fine. The pops were named George and Pedro after kitchen staff. Everything seemed to be going along, well, swimmingly. Then the babies began to fade. Research said only 10-percent of the brood would survive, unfortunately, even those few underwater equines didn’t make it. But George and Pedro are still lopping along. Stop by and check them out.

SAIL ON SAILOR… A sad passing on Water St. Thomas C. Muchowski, 42, died on Aug. 10 after a valiant two-year battle with cancer. His wife Jocelyn, children Wiley and Maveric, and brother James of Westhampton, visited with Seaport neighbors and other friends on Monday night to remember their loving husband, father, brother and friend.  He died surrounded by loved ones in his family home in Jamesport. An artist and furniture maker, Tom, who stood a strapping 6-foot-4 and wore his long reddish blond hair tied loosely at his neck, was also remembered with a verse from The Doors: “…’Son, I’m going crazy from living on the sand/Got to find my shipmates and walk on foreign land.’…” One neighbor recalled Halloween two years ago when Tom dressed up as the Silver Surfer and Josie came as a sexy cavewoman. “They were the most beautiful couple I’ve ever seen,” she told SR, “and so in love.” Safe journey, Silver Sailor!