Apr-Oct: Tue-Sun, 10am-6pm; Mon, closed; Nov-Mar: Fri-Mon, 10am-5pm; Tue-Thu, closed
2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z at Fulton St.
$10, $8 seniors and students, $5 children 5-12, free for children under 5
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Founded in 1967, the South Street Seaport Museum isn’t just one location, but many, as the institution sprawls across several restored brick buildings and even a few ships in New York’s original port. At its two main sites alone—one on Fulton Street, the other around the corner on Water Street—the museum possesses more than 30,000 square feet of exhibition space. (As visitors ascend the escalators to these galleries, they’ll spot remnants of Gaelic graffiti left by workers from the mid-nineteenth century.) In addition to special temporary exhibits dealing with local maritime history, the museum features permanent displays like Monarchs of the Sea, which shows off many of the museum’s 1,000 model ships, highlighted by a 23-foot-long model of the Queen Mary, which once graced the Cunard ticket office. Other artifacts include posters advertising trips on the various liners as well as matchbooks, teapots, paintings, maps, and other ephemera. Gallery admission allows entrance to two of the museum’s eight historic ships— the Ambrose, a 1908 steel lightship, and the Peking, one of the largest sailing ship in existence, which contains preserved cabins as well as an educational facility for school trips.Schedule Ahead
The museum’s private library, which contains thousands of books and photographs, is open for research on an appointment-only basis.
Private charters of two of the museum’s smaller historic vessels can be arranged by calling 212-748-8786.
Free docent-guided gallery or ship tours are available, though visitors must call in advance for reservations. The museum also offers lower Manhattan walking tours and tours of the preserved ruins of the Fulton Ferry Hotel, by reservation only.
The South Street Seaport isn’t just for nautical enthusiasts. Anyone with an affinity for open air and a love of history will be thrilled with these spaces, from the high-ceilinged Melville Gallery (holds 125 for cocktails) to the ships (the docked tall ship Peking, or the nineteenth-century schooner Pioneer that can sail up the river). Gallery rates start at $2,500; boat and pier rentals range from $5,000 to $15,000.