South Street Seaport to Establish Stronger Link With Trade

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Reed Travel Features

NEW YORK -- Although the cobblestone streets of the South Street Seaport regularly teem with visitors, the riverfront region of the lower eastside of Manhattan would like to attract more tour and travel business.

"We recognize the need to bring more operator business to the area and to reach out and build relationships with those involved in tourism," said Paul Harnett, vice president and general manager of Seaport Marketplace Inc.

Seaport Marketplace is the marketing affiliate of the Rouse Co., the commercial real estate firm that operates South Street Seaport.

Seaport Marketplace plans to host face-to-face meetings with the travel trade as well as offering promotions, he said.

One such promotional effort is a 1997 coupon book that features more than $250 in discounts from many of the restaurants and retailers.

Harnett said the Seaport also is reaching out to the local hotel community and, in particular, the Big Apple's concierges.

"We're hosting concierge nights to showcase what's new in the Seaport area so that the city's concierges can see first hand what would interest their clientele," Harnett said.

In the future, the Seaport will offers packages in conjunction with the hotels.

The Seaport currently is targeting the international market with in-flight videos on major airlines.

"Our message is that there's a real sense of place at the Seaport. When you come here you bask in the history of New York," Harnett said.

The original international gateway to the city, the Seaport district, located in the Wall Street area of lower Manhattan and adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge, dates to the 1600s.

Today, the waterfront community encompasses 11 blocks of restored 19th century buildings, a maritime museum with the largest (in tonnage) fleet of historical ships in the world and more than 100 retail shops, cafes and restaurants.

Cobblestone streets, tall-mast ships and open-air cafes lend to the historical feel of the area.

Seaport merchants sell an array of goods and services, including fresh seafood; spices, coffee and tea; telescopes and toys; designer fashions; hand-crafted gifts, and international food.

Entertainment at the Seaport ranges from concerts and festivals to daily street performances.

Every summer, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, jugglers, magicians, mimes, musicians, puppeteers, and balloonists entertain the crowds.

Upcoming spring events include fireworks, a series of blues concerts during Memorial Day weekend and the Whitbread Boat Race, set for May 8 to 10.

The Seaport's location is convenient for tourists wishing to visit other attractions, such as the Statue of Liberty and the historical sites of lower Manhattan.

For additional information and to receive the complimentary coupon book, contact (212) SEA-PORT.

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