Places that Matter

South Street Seaport

click on image for slideshow
Overview of waterfront, L. Krauze,
Overview of waterfront, L. Krauze,
Pier 17, L. Krauze,
Building with Museum sign, L. Krauze,
Peking, L. Krauze,
Fulton Market, L. Krauze,
Bowne & Co. Stationers storefront, Bowne & Co.
Once port and fish market, now historic district, museum, and tourism center
Place Details »

Place Matters Profile

Reprint from District Lines newsletter, Spring 2007, Historic Districts Council. Used with permission.

Louis Morino, the proprietor of Sloppy Louie’s Restaurant at Fulton and South Streets in Manhattan, was talking about his building to the writer Joseph Mitchell. It was 1952, and Mitchell was working on what became the title story of his collection of The New Yorker stories, "Up in the Old Hotel." Louie, who was not sloppy at all but came by the name from the previous owner of his restaurant, learned about his building from a title searcher at Title Guarantee & Trust Company, saying that other sources had not yielded much information about its history. "It seems all this end of South Street used to be under water," he told Mitchell. "The East River flowed over it. Then the city filled it in and divided it into lots. In February, 1804, a merchant by the name of Peter Schermerhorn, a descendant of Jacob Schermerhorn, was given grants to the lot my building now stands on--92 South--and the lot next to it--93 South, a corner lot, the corner of South and Fulton. Schermerhorn put up a four-story brick-and-frame building on each of these lots--stores on the street floors and flats above."

Cut to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report (1977) of the South Street Seaport Historic District: "In 1868, Nos. 92 and 93 were raised from four to six stories and topped by a mansard roof with gabled dormers. This alteration was made for John H. McKinley, who began running his steamboat hotel at No. 93 (also 2 Fulton) in this same year."