Just as hope was fading to keep the South Street Seaport Museum and its historic ships, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has ordered the museum to scuttle plans to send its working ships out of the city for storage, according to a story in the New York Post.
The museum, along with its iconic vessels, Peking, Wavertree, Pioneer, Lettie G. Howard, Ambrose, Helen McAllister, W.O. Decker and Marion M have been in financial crisis for more than a decade and the ships were to have been moved off their East River berths. Earlier this year, 32 full and part-time employees were placed on furlough and 21 of the trustees resigned. The ships are all in a state of serious disrepair with rotted planks and hull corrosion.
The museum is currently in talks with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on a plan to replace the museum’s board and its president, Mary Pelzer. Pelzer has been accused of mismanagement during her tenure.
The hope is that a new deal involving some of the museum’s valuable real estate holdings can buy the Seaport some time and get its financial house in order.
With such an important piece of maritime history in jeopardy, Seaport supporters and volunteers have established a blog at www.saveourseaport.wordpress.com to get the word out and garner much needed political and financial support for the ailing museum.