Press Release Article


Date: Apr 23, 2002
Press Release Number: 47-2002

Agency Funds Will Help Attract More Visitors to Downtown

In a move to help boost the economy of Lower Manhattan, the Port Authority will provide $5 million toward the expansion of the South Street Seaport Museum, the bistate agency announced today.

The museum expansion and renovation - which will cost a total of $19 million - are expected to draw tens of thousands of additional visitors a year to the Lower Manhattan neighborhood around the museum. A highlight will be a new exhibit illustrating the history of the port in the region, exploring its early days and the lives of the people who worked there in the 19th and 20th centuries.

New York Governor George E. Pataki said, \"Tourism is the lifeblood of New York City and its economy. The expanded South Street Seaport Museum will provide yet another reason for tourists to visit downtown. More tourists will spend more time there, which will help create jobs and economic activity throughout the area. This is one more way in which my administration is revitalizing lower Manhattan, and helping to build a stronger future for this extraordinary area of New York City.\"

Port Authority Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, \"The Port Authority contributes to the economic development of New York and New Jersey in many ways. By supporting the South Street Seaport Museum, the agency is also building awareness of the region\'s magnificent natural harbor and the shipping industry that depends on Port Authority improvements and strategic planning for continued growth. The maritime industry supports 226,000 jobs throughout the region, as well as $25 billion in economic activity.\"

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, \"Ten million visitors a year visit the Lower Manhattan area around the South Street Seaport, and projections indicate that the museum\'s expansion project will increase that number by one million visitors a year. That will generate an estimated $2.8 million a year in additional revenue for retail stores, restaurants and other businesses in the area.\"

Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, \"We are proud to support the museum\'s $19 million program, which includes a 30,000 square-foot permanent exhibit called World Port New York, as well as a renovation of the historic building known as Schermerhorn Row. By increasing public awareness of the importance of the maritime industry to the region, this grant also will help build support for harbor improvements that are needed to ensure that the Port of New York and New Jersey continues to grow and to generate jobs.\"

South Street Seaport Museum President Peter Neill said, \"The South Street Seaport Museum is extremely grateful for this generous support of the museum\'s expansion at this critical time. As the maritime museum of the city and state, we have long documented the extraordinary contribution of the port to the rise of New York as the first modern world city. The port has been - and remains - an essential engine of world trade, just as the city has been - and remains - a magnet for individuals of all cultures who come in search of security and freedom. The museum will now be able to tell that story of commerce and culture in 30,000 square feet of new exhibit/program space.\"

The South Street Seaport Museum was created in 1967 to document and interpret the significance of the New York-New Jersey port. It is located in Schermerhorn Row, a block-long 1812 building that extends along Fulton Street from Front to South streets. It serves more than 500,000 people each year through its exhibits, events and educational programs.

In addition, the museum provides educational programs for more than 40,000 New York and New Jersey children.

The completion of the museum\'s renovations and the opening of the World Port New York exhibit are scheduled for early 2003.

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