22 Peck Slip – South Street Seaport
Bar/Restaurant, Local Hangout, Outdoor Drinking
Jen did a prior write up on Meade’s, but this article has more to do with what happened during and after hurricane Sandy. The Seaport was one of, if not the worst hit areas of Manhattan. We moved to the Seaport from the Chelsea area in the Winter of 2006. It was around the same time that Meade’s opened. When we moved to the Seaport not much was going on. But within a few months things changed fast.
When we arrived on the scene Jeremy’s, Fresh Salt, Paris Cafe, Carmine’s, The Dodo, Mark Joseph, The Bridge Cafe, Acqua, Salud and Meade’s were the places to go. A few months later Nelson Blue, Stella Maris, Barbarini Alimentari, Suteshi, Bin 220, and Jack’s Coffee arrived. In the years to come some places closed and new ones opened. The Fish Market and The Cowgirl Seahorse opened and had some success in the Neighborhood. Carmines, The Dodo, Belle De Jour, and a few others did not do so well.
I don’t want to leave anyone out, but when we speak of the Seaport we speak of the area on the East River just south of the Brooklyn Bridge between South Street and Water Street, Beekman Street and Dover Street. This is where we lived. This was the Seaport Community we knew. There are many other restaurants and shops on Fulton Street and Pier 17 but that area was and is for the tourists. The area we are speaking of is where the New Yorkers live. This was the old fish market with cobblestone streets, historic buildings and the most amazing view of the Brooklyn Bridge. The neighborhood was unique and it often felt like you were on vacation living here.
We spent two years having some of the best times and meeting some of the best people. We moved out in 2008 due to issues with our apartment and shall we say having a bit too much fun. We now reside on the opposite side of Manhattan on the Hudson River in Battery Park’s South Cove. It’s much quieter but nowhere near as much fun. Over the years we returned to the Seaport to see friends and hang out at our usual haunts. In the past year we have been going back more and more and have found ourselves hanging out at Meade’s more often. We even dressed up for Halloween to attend the annual Meade’s Halloween party. But two days later on Monday, October 29, 2012 hurricane Sandy hit.
The Seaport took a terrible hit from Sandy. The East River overflowed it’s banks and rose up to 9-10 feet in some places. When it receded it took with it the restaurants, bars, shops, jobs and homes of the people of South Street Seaport community. Some will never come back and others got to work immediately.
On October 30, 2012 when the weather cleared we took a walk over and hoped the neighborhood was still there. It was a sad day. The hood was devastated. People walking around in disbelief, stunned and even crying. The sandbags and boards did nothing to stop the wave of destruction from Sandy. It was nasty!
When we came upon Meade’s we found the contents of the bar and kitchen on the sidewalk. The owner/manager Lee Holin had already gotten together a crew of people to start cleaning. They were ripping out walls and stoves, shelves and bar stock, Sandy was not going get them down. Within four days Meade’s was back up and running. The electricity was out so it was candle light only and the kitchen was gone so a gas grill was set up outside and stock was limited but THEY WERE OPEN. That afternoon Jen and I bought about $120 worth of sandwiches and ice, grabbed our battery operated iPod dock, ice cooler and got a cab over to Meade’s. Wouldn’t you know it the bar was full. That night Meade’s became a beacon of light in the fog of destruction that was the Seaport. Meade’s stayed open from that day on, serving the community and saving the jobs of those that worked there.
The people of the Seaport could blow off some steam with a drink, some food and a conversation about the situation they were in. The bar brought together the community when it needed it most. Neighbors, employers and employees came together to discuss what was going on. While this was happening Meade’s was coming back together. Walls were going up, paint was applied, the kitchen was up and running heat and electricity turned on. Cards were run through phone apps, still no internet! Things are getting better but are far from over.
The Seaport needs help. So in the new year to come we ask that you spend some time at the bars, restaurants and shops that are open. Stop in for some drinks and food. They need the support! Happy New Year! Make 2013 a good year for the Seaport Community. And a big Happy New Year to Lee, Katie, Nicci, Chano, Izzy, Angel and everyone else at Meade’s and the good people of the South Street Seaport.