Seaport Report, March 6, 2013

BY JANEL BLADOW  |  Those prognosticators of changing seasons, furry rodents named Phil and Sam, say spring is around the corner. As residents of the South Street Seaport, we sure hope so — maybe warmer weather can help speed up construction on our streets.

Musical evening… Our own Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra celebrates its Season 5 with an opening concert of American and world premiere performances. “Music for a Changing World” features two works from the period when jazz began transforming classical music. Celebrated pianist Harumi Hanafusa performs the jazz-infused Piano Concerto in G by Maurice Ravel. And the orchestra’s music director Gary S. Fagin marks the world premiere of his “Suite from Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny”. He notes that “smoky saxophones will transport you back to 1920s Berlin.” The concert, Friday, March 8, 7:30 p.m., is at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, 3 Spruce St. Seaporters and other Downtown residents can get a 25 percent discount on the $35 ticket at www.knickerbocker-orchestra.org.

Movie nights… The South Street Seaport Museum recently kicked off its first film series with classic tales of the sea. Upcoming monthly movie nights include: 1935’s “Mutiny on the Bounty” (Tuesday, March 12), starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, and 1958’s “A Night to Remember” (Tuesday, April 23), the riveting tale of RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage, regarded as the most historically accurate of the many accounts of this great sea tragedy. Tickets are $8 for non-members and $5 for museum members. Details: www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org.

SOS… Rumblings abound of a March New York City Council meeting to debate the future of the South Street Seaport.Visit saveourseaport.wordpress.com for updates.

Looking back 40 years… Jeremy’s Ale House (228 Front St.) rolled back the prices on a few of their favorite seafood baskets last month to 1973 prices to celebrate their 40 years in the South Street Seaport. Hard to believe that “the oldest established permanent floating saloon in New York,” as owner Jeremy Holin has dubbed it, has been a neighborhood staple so long. Holin believes it’s the people, the atmosphere and the vibe that makes this off-the-wall, hole-in-the-wall watering hole such a hit with neighbors, nearby workers and tourists alike. Congrats Jeremy and team. Lifting a Styrofoam 32oz cup of brew to you and another 40 more!

In memory… A moving, mystical and fun memorial was held last month at the Seaport Museum for our late Water Street neighbor Harold Reed. An SRO crowd of family, friends, co-committee members and truth-seekers joined his son Bradford in celebrating Yogi Harry’s 76 years on earth and his too soon transcendence to another astral plane. There were tales of shopping for suits, road trips to Yado, an overnight in a shabby Chicago hotel and weekends around the pool as the perfect houseguest. One thought rang true through all the memories: Harold was not only the most pleasant and most interesting man in the world but also one with a wry sense of humor. He will be missed. Namaste.

Looking back… One of the greatest chroniclers of New York City – its streets, its people and its eccentricities – Joseph Mitchell, author of the larger-than-life “Up in the Old Hotel”, was writer for the New Yorker from 1938 until his death 58 years later. He left many manuscripts started after 1964 unfinished.

Last month, the magazine published what would have been the first chapter in a planned memoir. It is an interesting look at the city and his growing disassociation, and included a wonderful photo of him in 1952 standing in front of South Street’s once famous fish house, Sloppy Louie’s. He was talking about all the things he liked to do in the city, including:

“I am also strongly drawn to certain kinds of subterranean places and to certain kinds of towers. I have been down in the vaults under Trinity Church and I have been down in the vaults under the Federal Reserve Bank and I have been down in the dungeony old disused warehouse vaults in the red brick arches under the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge, which still smell mustily but pleasantly of some of the products that used to be stored in them – wine in casks, hides and skins from the wholesale-leather district known as the Swamp and now demolished that once lay adjacent to the bridge, and surplus fish held in cold storage for higher prices by fishmongers from Fulton Market, which is nearby.”

Sadly, he never wrote again about the city he loved and just as sad, is that those musty old vaults under the bridge have been shuttered and unused so many years.