SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — The South Street Seaport Museum is losing its financial anchor.
The Museum of the City of New York, which has run the cash-strapped Seaport Museum since 2011, has jumped ship, leaving the future of the floundering institution uncertain.
Thanks in part to the massive financial hit the Seaport Museum took because of Hurricane Sandy damage, the City Museum will not renew its operating agreement, which expires July 5, Susan Henshaw Jones, the director of the Museum of the City of New York, and outgoing president of the Seaport Museum, said Monday in a statement.
Henshaw Jones said she and her team worked tirelessly to revive the Seaport Museum, which had been forced to close in 2010 because of financial troubles, but “we could not foresee Sandy, and Sandy did us in.”
“Sandy ravaged our building systems and more,” Henshaw Jones said. "At the same time, funding from FEMA will take years to receive.”
The museum was forced to close its Sandy-damaged 12 Fulton St. galleries on April 7 because it was unable to bankroll the historic building's expensive temporary heat and power systems, which were destroyed by the hurricane's floowaters. Henshaw Jones previously estimated that it would take millions of dollars to permanently repair the damage.
Kate Levin, the commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, which has overseen efforts to save the Seaport Museum, told The New York Times Monday that the city was searching for another operator to take over management of the Seaport Museum.
In the meantime, the Seaport Museums's neighboring Bowne & Co. Stationers and Bowne Printers, a recreation of a 19th-century printing shop at 209-211 Water St., will remain open, according to the museum's website.
The museum's 1885 schooner Pioneer will also continue its harbor sails this season.