Seaport Report

By Janel Bladow

Just a few more days before Christmas. If you haven’t finished your shopping, you’re in luck. The shops at The South Street Seaport (S3 for short) are open and many with sales. Run out and catch a last minute bargain!

In fact, the stores have the option of being open Christmas Day so talk about last minute shopping! But if you want to catch Santa for one last request, his final appearance is set for 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, then he has to hurry back to the North Pole for his annual supersonic, round-the-world sleigh ride.

Over the holiday weekend, however, the Christmas Tree Chorus will still be on hand for one last blast of holiday favorites. They’ll be performing Fri., Dec. 26 at 6 and 7 p.m. and again on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 27 & 28, at 3 and 4 p.m., at the base of the magnificent Christmas tree in the center of Fulton Street.

The massive 8,000-square foot ice rink that was supposed to open Thanksgiving weekend, may be up and running this weekend. General Growth Properties spokesperson Joan Cooney says the delay was caused by materials and stuff outside their control. She admits they were a bit too optimistic when they set their original opening date.

Hundred Years of Hogs… While walking around, even if you aren’t a motorcycle maven, you might want to check out the current exhibit at @Seaport Event Space, 210 Front St. Celebrating 105 years of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles showcases the history, design and production of the quintessential American chopper, first made in Wisconsin. Including interactive and multimedia displays (no, sorry, no bikes to ride!), the exhibit is sure to delight hardened hog riders and wannabes alike. Free to all through Jan. 31, Tuesdays through Sundays, noon to 8 p.m.

Presidential Waves … You might be tired of talk of presidents and politics but here’s a great show that’s about presidential passions — no, not that kind! Visitors to the South Street Seaport Museum can browse the maritime collection of our 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who spent his lifetime collecting everything from Hudson River art to stamps. In “Treasures of a President: FDR and the Sea,” a joint venture between the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and the Museum of the South Street Seaport, some of his most precious nautical collectibles are brought together to give us a well-rounded view of the man and his love of the sea and all things maritime. An expert sailor, F.D.R. spent his leisure time helming his sailboat along the New England Coast, fishing on power boats and racing his ice yacht on the frozen Hudson River. He also crossed oceans as assistant secretary of the Navy from 1913 – 1920. It’s said that he enjoyed the fresh air, exercise, adventure and camaraderie of life aboard ship. After his presidential tenure, he escaped the pressures of public life for the solace of the sea. Some of the rare memorabilia to be seen here includes a photo of a 7-year old F.D.R. in a sailor suit in 1889, preparing to launch model sailboats with his sons Franklin Jr. and John in 1920 and waving to the crowds aboard the USS Indiana during a 1936 visit to Montevideo, Uruguay. As the exhibit’s description says “The popular image of FDR as a sailor, guiding the ship of state through rough waters, endures to this day.” Maybe somebody better get Barack Obama on a boat — quick! We’re sinking!!! (Open Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., $10 adults, $5 children, members free)

New Years @ Sea … Hate the crowds at Times Square New Year’s Eve? Don’t want to hang at home alone? Haven’t been invited to a party? Or, are you just hankering for something different to ring in 2009? For those who love the sea as much as F.D.R., love a good party and are desperate to celebrate the end of this economically disastrous year, there’s a bash aboard the Sequoia that’s sure to be a night to remember. Join nearly 700 others for fireworks and fun onboard the fifth annual Sequoia New Year’s Eve cruise. “The party is very successful,” says Andrew Fox, CEO and founder of Newyearseve.com, who launched the shipboard party. “We’ve sold out the last four years and it looks like we’re headed to a sell-out again this year.” The fun kicks off from Pier 17 at 9 p.m., Dec. 31, then sails around the harbor, catching the bright lights, big city and fireworks from 360-degrees. The six-hour boat ride features an open bar all night, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres until midnight, when they break out the noisemakers, party hats and champagne. After the lavish bon voyage to 2008, continental breakfast is served at 2 a.m. Two-floors and an outdoor deck mean nonstop party and dancing to DJ Stacy Stylez spinning Hip-hop, rock and 80s music. Fox says the crowd is mostly 21-35 young professionals who like to party and, while some come in groups, couples looking for a romantic way to celebrate also make up the lively bunch. “It’s a night for people who want to be a part of a real New York City nightlife experience and who love New Year’s Eve,” he told Seaport Report. Cost for the six-hour joy ride is $125 pp or $165 for VIP reserved seating. For more information email info2009@newyears.com or call 212.921.2100.

Free S3 Classes … The Seaport wants to try something new and if it is a success, look for a new series of classes billed as Seaport Semester. Trial classes begin the week of Jan. 12, and are open to everyone. Taught by experts in their fields, some of the areas of interest include:

• Church Street School of Music and Art- arts education for students of all ages and level of ability.

• Dog Run Rep Theater- Presenting Tartuffe, Moliere’s funniest wackiest comedy in a new rhyming verse translation.

• Downtown Babies- education play and music classes for mommies and infants to five-year-olds.

• Montauk Theater Productions- Improvisation and movement for children and seniors

• Opera on Tap- Opera for kids and adults.

• Pen Parentis After Work Reading Series- showcasing notable authors reading from their own works. Concludes with Q&A.

• Spa for Your Spirit- Interactive workshops with life coach to help discover a sense of connection to self and inner peace.

• TADA! Youth Theater- Musical theater classes for infants to 8th graders.

• Teen Entrepreneur Boot Camp- A "business boot camp" for teen entrepreneurs to actually launch a temporary business within two weeks.

Classes will be held in various locations around S3, including Pier 17, 210 Front St. and other donated empty storefronts. If the free trial gets a great turnout, the Seaport will offer on-going classes for a fee. For details including dates, times and location, go to www.southstreetseaport.com.

Send us your news, thoughts or events to Seaportreport@downtownexpress.com