The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), which in 2011 was given 18 months — plus a nine-month extension last year — to get the shipwrecked South Street Seaport Museum afloat again, is abandoning ship, taking the wind out of the ailing institution’s sails as it continues to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. “It’s a huge personal sadness for me,” Susan Henshaw Jones, the president of the MCNY who has also been serving as the Seaport Museum’s captain, told the New York Times. “It’s just not workable.”
“Sandy really just did us in,” Jones added. “There still exists this huge amount of post-Sandy work that is enormous in terms of dollars, which is going to take years.” She said the board of the MCNY wanted her to focus on her work at the uptown institution.
When Sandy struck, the Seaport Museum had recently reopened after a year-long closure, and the storm decimated its admissions area, gift shop, and cafe, as well as its computer and electrical systems.
Now the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs is sweeping the horizon for another group or institution to guide the Seaport Museum to safe waters. “We’re working to see if we can find another entity,” Kate D. Levin, the department’s commissioner, told the Times. If nobody comes to the institution’s rescue, it will fall into the hands of the attorney general of New York State.
— Benjamin Sutton
(Photo: © 2013 Karli Cadel. Via South Street Seaport Museum/Facebook.)