Seaport Report

By Janel Bladow

Christmas tree is down, ice skating rink is up and running and filled with happy skaters.

New shops and bars are opening, others are moving. Here in the South Street Seaport, like Washington, the New Year is off to a hopeful start.

Festive Fun…Long-time local resident Harold Reed held his annual holiday cocktail party on the eve of New Year’s Eve and what fun that was! As chairperson of the Arts & Entertainment Task Force of Community Board 1, he packs a wallop in three rings of the circus that is The Big Apple: the arts, politics and Downtown. Politicians and pundits, neighbors and friends all mingled and made new acquaintances, discussed Downtown doings and how the South Street Seaport and the rest of the city will weather the current economic storm.

Joining Reed were Councilmember Alan Gerson, Co-Chairperson of C.B. 1 Catherine McVay Hughes, current member and restaurateur Albert Capsouto, Paul Goldstein who left C.B. 1 and now works for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, John Haworth, director of the Museum of the American Indian, Broadway composer Charles Strouse (“Annie,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” among other hits), author Patricia Bosworth (bios of Marlon Brando, Montgomery Cliff and more), Lisa Lerner who is now producing a revival of her father Alan’s megahit “Brigadoon” for Broadway, Marion Javits, Janell Vaughan and Lincoln Palsgove IV of the Seaport’s General Growth Properties, and various editors and Pulitzer Prize winners, too many to mention! Atmosphere was bright, cheery and optimistic. Delicious canapés were created and served by those talented and hardworking folks of Table Tales on Water St.

New Name, New Location…And new owner Megan Cariola of Provisions, formerly Stonehouse Olive Oil, has great visions for her oil, salt, and home stuff emporium. Moving to 150 Beekman St. (formerly Options For Life store/office) between Front and South Sts., Provisions will have a slightly bigger space with much higher ceilings than in their current shop on Front St.

“The move is mostly economic yet it’s a nicer space to work in,” she told Seaport Report. Cariola envisions adding more organics, home goods and body products to her already growing inventory, including selling delicious chocolate by Christopher Norman of New St. and the Options For Life green cleaning products.

We already love their olive oil bar with tastings of such unique flavors as a tart lime or a sweet orange. You can bring your own bottle to refill and get a break on the price. They also offer samples of many varieties of salt from grey to pink. Sales employee Alice Badon makes a mix of salt and oil for a body scrub that leaves her skin glowing. And Cariola says she plans to start packaging the scrubs as well as develop other items under their own brand.

Another offering that most neighbors might not be aware of is their community-supported agriculture (C.S.A.) subscription service. It’s something like a food co-op from the old days. C.S.A.s enroll members to prepay then each gets a share of seasonal foods from a local farm. Those who signed up for the winter offerings from Norwich Meadow Farms, which also sells at the Union Square Green Market, receive five deliveries from December to April of hearty veggies like winter squash, potatoes and onions. The new store will have the same great hours of operation: seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They expect to open next week but over the weekend, drop by and say hi! And tell ‘em S.R. sent ya!

A Taste of Italy…More movement afoot on Front St. as well as healthy competition for your food dollars! Barbarini Alimentari, Italian Gourmet and Restaurant, adds a new retail space and dining room, Barbarini Mercato & Cucinia with a grand opening next week.

Owner Claudio Marini says the market will stock imported Italian and European foods along with locally grown organic fruits and vegetables. The new dining room, which has two large skylights, will serve fresh pasta and well as other fine light fare and conveniently connects to the current restaurant and the new marketplace. This offers diners a novel experience, explains Marini to Seaport Report. “They can have a delicious meal then shop our unique products, including select imported cheeses and fine Italian cold cuts.” Marini who is amazed that three years have passed since he first opened, says that the expansion was already underway when the economy took a downturn. But he’s still confident. “Everyone is supportive. Neighbors stop by. People are telling us they can’t wait. That’s why I love it down here.”

A Star Is Reborn…200 years later, New York history buffs can find out fun facts behind a myth and its makings. In 1809, a sensation was created when Dutch historian Diedrich Knickerbocker published his history of Dutch control of New York City in the 17th Century. What readers didn’t know is that Knickerbocker was the penname of an up-and-coming author, Washington Irving. His extremely popular book, “A History of New York” is being republished by Penguin Classics, which is hosting a fun night at Fraunces Tavern Museum, steps away from the great writer’s birthplace. Elizabeth Bradley, author of the new book “Knickerbocker: The Man Behind the Myth,” discusses Knickerbocker/Irving’s book and how it propelled the author to literary stardom. Join her on January 29, at 6:30 p.m. ($6; museum members are free) for her chat then some wine and cheese afterward in the Flag Gallery. More info:


Sad News & Help Needed…The Fish-Bridge Dog Run is sad to note the deaths of two long-time regulars: Sandy, a gentle golden-haired beauty, who had her companion Jack Lopez at her bark and paw on Tuesday Dec. 23, and my own wonderful boy, Rory, a sweet, funny guy in a rich black coat, three days earlier. Both dogs will be missed as will our long-time and well-loved and appreciated co-coordinator, Paul Jansen who passed away earlier in the month. Because of these sad tidings, we’re reaching out to all S3 dog owners for help. We could use some new volunteers to help administrate, organize and maintain our great run. If you’d like to get involved, please leave a note with your e-mail address on the bulletin board in the run. Thanks!

Moving On…Yet another longtime S3 resident is pulling up stakes. Don Walsh along with his sweet Honey Bear, a yellow lab, is leaving in two weeks after more than 11 years on Water St. If you see them on the corner of Peck Slip or at Acqua, wish them well!

And if you have news we can use, write Seaportreport@downtownexpress.com.