Massive Proposed Seaport Signage Slapped Down by Community Board

By Chelsia Rose Marcius on October 12, 2012 2:42pm 

LOWER MANHATTAN — A massive sign in the proposed redesign of Pier 17 on the South Street Seaport was panned by a community board committee Thursday as too bold and out of character with the historic waterfront site.

The Landmarks Committee of Community Board 1 blasted the planned 9-by-90-foot illuminated "Seaport" rooftop sign proposed by owner Howard Hughes Corp., noting concerns that such signage would overwhelm the new façade.

“One of the great design features is that it is all glass, and it is going to be very airy,” said committee chairman Roger Byrom in his comments at the Thursday night meeting.

“I don’t think you need to scream out this thing exists in the evening, and I don’t think you need to scream out that this thing exists during the day either,” he added. “I think we know it’s the Seaport and the building makes sure it is noticeable.”

The sign is part of a sweeping new plan to redevelop Pier 17 beginning next year, including replacing the existing shopping center with high-end stores and restaurants housed in a contemporary, all-glass structure.

But the committee had concerns that the proposed sign — made up of modern letters that would spell out, “Seaport” or “The Seaport”— detracted from the building’s historic look.

Other parts of the proposal, including 32 smaller signs that would appear outside each store in Pier 17, were also rejected by the committee due in part to their size, which Byrom said did not keep within the guidelines set by Landmarks Preservation Commission.

An LPC spokeswoman said the developer will have a chance to pitch the plan to the commission at an upcoming public hearing.

However, the CB1 committee did give the thumbs-up to proposed 10-foot-tall information signs that will help visitors navigate South Street Seaport and the new Pier 17 complex, as well as a painted “Seaport Market” sign on the side of the structure.

“It’s being painted onto metal, which is much more contextual,” Byrom noted.

The committee will bring its resolution, part of the landmark application for Pier 17, before the full board on October 23.   

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