Seaport Report: Wining and dining, skating and shopping

Joel Greenberg Opening

BY JANEL BLADOW | And we’re off… 2019 is galloping into history.

Hot shots… About 40 neighbors and friends gathered at Barbalu Restaurant (225-227 Front St.) on Sun., Jan 13, to celebrate one of our own neighborhood talents, photographer Joel Greenberg. Joel has been dining at the Italian eatery and over the years struck up a friendship with owner Stefano Barbagallo.

“After doing wedding photography for the past 30 years,” Joel wrote in an e-mail to me while on a trip to Bangkok, “it was my dream to get back into doing my own personal work.”

An enthusiastic patron of the arts, Stefano urged Joel to get back behind the camera and offered to display his photographs in the restaurant. Half the photos were taken in 1983 during the Brooklyn Bridge Centennial.

While you dine, enjoy Joel Greenberg’s photos on the walls at Barbalu. Photos by Janel Bladow

“These photos are a time capsule because the bridge was illuminated for its centennial celebration,” Joel noted. The other half the photos were taken in Havana, Cuba, in 2014. “Both groups are similar because Havana hasn’t changed much from the 1950s, another time capsule,” he added.

The theme is a contrast between the black-and-white centennial images of the bridge and the vivid colors of Havana’s historic buildings and automobiles. Joel printed all the photos himself except the two mural-sized photos printed on aluminum. This was the first time his work was presented this way.

“I was thrilled with the results,” he said. “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to show my friends and family what I have been working on again. Having them displayed in such a beautiful setting was also a real plus.”

Stefano served wine with antipasto platters, crostini and Arancini Balls with marina sauce to the gathered. Four photos were sold that afternoon. The show will be up through the spring so stop round for a view and bite. For more information, visit joelgreenbergphotography.com.


Winter magic… It’s been so cold outside most people are huddling inside, staying nice and warm. But not the brave souls zipping around the neighborhoods hot, new ice rink. While NYC boasts a handful of great parks and places to ice skate, the Seaport District tops them all — literally!

At Pier 17, the roof became a one-of-a-kind winterland when the city’s only outdoor rooftop ice rink opened during the holidays for spins, jumps and swizzles. Get your blades on and enjoy the enchanting views of Downtown from bridges to skyscrapers.

Visitors can also take skating lessons, learn to curl or play broomball and even sweat it out with fitness classes. The temporary seasonal space features a skate shack to rent blades and suit up.

Season passes and ticket packages are available for the ice rink. Show ID that you are a local Seaport resident and get a discount! There’s also a warm-up hut to rest between loops of the ice. Around the space are a scattering of pop-ups where skaters and those just there to watch can warm up with wintery drinks and comfy foods at the many cozy winter-themed bars and eateries that will surround the ice rink.


Cheers from above… Saturday night, Dec. 1, R17 opened with some wintery razzle dazzle despite the evening’s rain. The new nightspot atop Pier 17 started with a limited menu and flowing drinks. It’s warm, cozy and a perfect chic spot for a grown-up cocktail and conversation.

General Manager Youssef Senhaji comes Downtown from Tavern on the Green and charmingly greets guests.

The space is a modern lounge with a U-shaped marble-topped bar with a few dining tables and bookended with glowing fireplaces. The gray-and-earth tone motif carries on to the two separate seating areas on either side, complete with comfortable couches and chairs, some with gray, furry throws to cuddle in. Sadly, the drapes around the room were drawn, Senhaji said, because the ice rink was still under construction. But the nightlights of NYC still glittered through.

At the bar Frank Mehmedi expertly mixed up the evening’s most popular libation — The Edmont — and made me a warming Cold Brooze, a vodka, cold-brew vanilla with cocao nibs and hazelnut speciality.

Bartender Frank Mehmdi whips up the cocktails at R17.

In the sparkling, large kitchen Chef Cassidy Hallman was at the helm, overseeing orders both savory and sweet. I had the Hamachi Crudo, a delicately thin-sliced yellowtail tuna with chipotle honey and mustard seeds. Delish.

Sitting with me at the bar were a delightful couple, Katelyn Crawford and Seaport resident Chris Morello. Both said it was a great spot for their date-night nightcap. GM Sehaji agreed and is sold on the Seaport.

“The area is magical,” he told me. “This is why we’re here, to make it great again. No one can come to New York City and not come to the Seaport.”

Here. Here.


Food, food and more food… NY Post’s Steve Cuozzo broke the news recently that a massive food hall and entertainment venue will fill the ground floor of 28 Liberty St.

Legends Hospitality (responsible for Yankee Stadium food concession to One World Trade Center Observatory) signed a 35,000-square-foot lease, scheduled to open in 2020. The plan is to feature leading international chefs, major-artist music performances and a separate “upscale” restaurant.

Meanwhile, Cuozzo reports, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is building a 45,000-square-foot, 10-screen movie palace in the building’s lowest below-ground level, to open later this year. (nypost.com/2019/01/21/massive-food-entertainment-skyscraper-coming-to-fidi/)


Another blast for the hood… And the Seaport also made news a couple of weeks ago, taking the front page on the free paper, AM New York. “Change of Sea-nery, South Street Seaport’s revival as a shopping, dining destination” was the headline on an article about our “buzzy revival.”

Nothing that hasn’t been reported here first!

Until our next Seaport Report, enjoy the cold and our flourishing ’hood. Wishing you all a healthy, fabulous New Year!