"It should…be required reading for everyone—politicians, preservationists, developers, community members, journalists, and museum administrators—involved in rethinking how South Street Seaport will be remade in years to come.”
—The Journal of American History
“Preserving South Street Seaport ends on a bittersweet note: the district beautifully restored, but the museum barely noticeable, and the ships under constant threat of being sold off. It is precisely this abrupt, incomplete, and depressing ending that makes this book an active part of the preservation project. It becomes a call to arms, challenging the reader to actively participate in the Seaport’s existence and to provide a more satisfying conclusion for the story of the South Street Seaport.”
—Journal of Folklore Research
“Lindgren does not close the door on the museum’s future but seems to suggest avenues by which it could still prosper. It’s a tale of woe, of intrigue, of manipulative power brokers and competing ideologies, but it is definitely a necessary read for anyone interested in the complex cultural history and politics of New York.”
“The details are overwhelming and fascinating, providing readers a play-by-play rendering of negotiations with politicians, banks, and developers, as well as the often heart-breaking process of acquiring the ships and other artifacts that constitute the Seaport Museum. This eminently readable book, filled with revealing anecdotes, is a red flag to all preservationists aiming to partner with commercial interests. Lindgren demonstrates all too clearly the difficulties of achieving economic viability as a cultural and educational institution, and pointedly questions the lack of sustained support for what could be one of the most important maritime museums. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”
"Most New Yorkers think of South Street Seaport as only a touristy shopping mall. But the real South Street Seaport is a historic district with three piers and 11 blocks surrounded by Manhattan's skyscrapers. It's a treasure we must protect."
—New York Post
"Since 1997, SUNY professor James M. Lindgren has been researching the history of the South Street Seaport Historic District, the museum that championed its preservation and became its steward, and the complicated relationships that eventually emerged between that organization, the City of New York, the city’s economic development offices, and the ‘Festival Marketplace’ that was brought to the district in 1983. . . . This timely book will be sure to prove essential as we all work to unravel the Seaport’s tangled past and set it back on the right path."
—New Amsterdam Public Market Association
"Preserving South Street Seaport, by James M. Lindgren, is the first history of this district - the city's top destination for visitors in the late 1980s - and its maritime museum . . . Lindgren chronicles the battles between preservationists and developers as well as how the tragedies of 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy crushed the area's renewed promise. In a work that features more than 40 archival and contemporary black-and-white photographs, Lindgren reveals the challenges of privatizing urban renewal while also providing a narrative of how a decrepit piece of waterfront rose to become, for a time, a go-to spot for New Yorkers and tourists alike."
—NYU Research Digest
“South Street Seaport Museum has lived as many lives as the proverbial cat, but it was born feral and has remained so to this day. James Lindgren . . . tracks the promise of what began in the 1960s as a grassroots movement to 1) preserve an evocative and colorful remnant of nineteenth-century New York, 2) let troubled young people use seafaring experiences to rebuild their lives. Lindgren succeeds, here as elsewhere, in evoking the dreams and visions of the organizers, while also making clear the forces arrayed against them.”
—, H- Pennsylvania
"Lindgren sails through the maritime museums in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, and California. Of the museums, South Street Seaport is the most complicated story he ever came across."
—Robin Caudell, Press-Republican
"The author has done exhaustive research in assembling factual evidence of what went wrong . . . . This cautionary tale informs readers how not to run a museum and is recommended for museum educators, historical preservationists, and New York City history buffs."
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