New York may be the “city that never sleeps” (a term, incidentally, that was coined for the Seaport District in the early 19thcentury due to its position as a 24/7 port of trade and industry) but from Memorial Day to Labor Day some office workers get to slow down and take Friday afternoons off. The origins of Summer Fridays (a concept unique to New York) are mysterious, however rumor has it is that they were invented in the 1960s by the city’s publishing powerhouses so editors could get a head start on the weekend at their beach houses, and the trend is still popular today among media companies and creative agencies. If you’re lucky to enjoy this Mad Men-era perk, we’ve compiled the best ways to spend a Summer Friday at the Seaport District.
How to Make the Most of Summer Fridays at the Seaport
If you’re stuck in back-to-back meetings all week with no time to get to the gym, now’s your chance to make up for it with a run along the East River, where you can take in sweeping views of Brooklyn’s waterfront including the Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Bridges and the Seaport District. For a more challenging session, keep running over to Brooklyn by following the signs for the bridge of your choice. Need extra motivation? Join the Seaport Run Club, a casual running group that that meets in front of the iPic Theaters at 11 Fulton Street for a 5k run along the FDR Drive.
Turn Happy Hour into a Happy Afternoon by gathering your co-workers and taking advantage of drink deals for early birds at the multitude of bars and restaurants around the Seaport District, from the Garden Bar to upscale Italian eatery Acqua at Peck Slip; double-decker riverside hangout, The Watermark , speakeasy-style bar, The Black Hound, and the summertime destination Heineken Riverdeck at Pier 17.
As one of New York’s oldest neighborhoods, the Seaport is a historical hotbed. Spend an afternoon discovering how the Big Apple came to be at the South Street Seaport Museum, which has occupied Schemerhorn Row for more than half a century. Consisting more than 26,000 objects, the museum’s collections include paintings; drawings, prints and photographs; manuscripts and ephemera; ship models; scrimshaw; navigational instruments and shipwright tools; and many historical objects related to trade from the Seaport itself, including those from the Fulton Fish Market, the coffee and tea industry, and letterpress printing and advertisement industry, which supported the growth of New York as a financial powerhouse. Perhaps most fascinating is the Alan Govenar and Kaleta Doolin Tattoo Collection featuring the life and work of Gus Wagner, the "World's Champion Hand Tattoo Artist and Tattooed Man," who was one of the most exuberant figures in the history of American popular culture.
Explore a New Neighborhood
This summer, the Seaport has been reimagined as a port of discovery for New Yorkers—not just tourists—to enjoy. Beat the city crowds and run your errands, enjoy a bite to eat, and do a spot of shopping all in one place in this historic and picturesque neighborhood. Grab tacos at Luchadores NYC, a converted horse stable and Airstream truck serving up authentic Mexican, then treat yourself to ice cream from Van Leeuwen. From boutique eyewear at DITA and artisan stationary at Bowne & Co. to vintage Americana styling with Japanese inspired graphics at Superdry, it’s the perfect place to shop for a new outfit or last minute gift.