Things To Do at South Street Seaport: Pop-up Shops, Smorgasbar, and More!

People sitting around enjoying the food from the Smorgasbar at South Street Seaport

The South Street Seaport area was just beginning to shed its tacky-tourist image at this time last year, with a revitalized Museumrestaurants at which you'd actually want to eat, the great Imagination Playground, and the lovely East River Esplanade. And then autumn came, and the nightmare of Sandy, and ever since then the Seaport's main pedestrian plazas have been, in a word, forlorn. 

Impatient with the slow-to-reopen chain stores, a partnership was formed to energize the neighborhood once again, between the city, the Howard Hughes Corporation (who manage the awful Pier 17 mall, but are, fingers-crossed, about to transform that huge space into something good), and the folks at the Brooklyn Flea.

Food vendor Landhaus Bacon at South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport NYC Events and Festivals

The result is somewhat clunkily called See/Change, but the good news is this: every day from now through October, the area around Fulton and Water Streets has come alive once again with a rotating series of pop-up boutiques (housed in de-rigeur shipping containers, for added coolness) and the excellent Smorgasbar, with a dozen or so first-rate food vendors from the Flea. Oh, and there are two outdoor bars, weekly outdoor movies, and plenty of surprises–eg, hammock parties, and "glitter rain"–happening all summer long. Add on the Seaport Music Festival (Friday evenings in June), the Fulton Stall Market (every weekend), and the free all-day 4Knots music festival on June 29 (The Babies and The Men are my personal picks here), and FiDi and Battery Park City locals have plenty of reason to come out to the Seaport again. 

Kelvin's Slushies at South Street Seaport

Smorgasbar Food and Pop-Up Shops

For the first two weeks Smorgasbar featured an all-star lineup, with the likes of Red Hook Lobster Pound, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Landhaus (the bacon on a stick was awesome), Pizza Moto, Milk Truck grilled cheese, and Kelvin's boozy Slushes all vying for (and deserving of) your quick-bite attention. The Flea-ish pop-ups (meaning: designed and created by local artisans) are all solid too, including SKT Ceramics, terrific jewelry at both Birdhouse and Loyalty & Blood, and the handsome NYC-themed prints at Sheepshead Design. The only misstep is the inclusion of the bizarre and kind of gross candy chain IT'SUGAR, they of the five-pound gummi bears and edible g-strings, which is also likely to be the most visited booth by out-of-towners.

Two women walking through South Street Seaport checking out the pop-up shops

Brooklyn Flea Smorgasbar and Shops at Seaport

Smorgasbar and the pop-ups will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday until 11:00 p.m. For more information an up-to-date roster of vendors, see the Brooklyn Flea site.

Free outdoor movies at South Street Seaport by Front Row Cinema

Front Row Cinema Outdoor Movies at Seaport

Front Row Cinema, the Wednesday free outdoor movie series at the corner of Front and Fulton, begins on July 10 (with Ice Age), and runs through August 28 (The Aviator). Here is the complete Front Row Cinema schedule!

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