Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “destruction of South Street Seaport

Photo of the day: LOOSING NEW YORK


We have been loosing our city at a rapid speed since the 12 year Bloomberg administration. Our new mayor Bill DeBlasio didn’t make things any better. A shill and phoney sell-out as our city’s history continues to be torn down left and right while being raped by an overbuilding of glass towers where they ought not to be.
As a tour guide I am supposed to tell people how wonderful New York City is...I do. But they don’t see that Harlem is now only 40% black, overrun by self-righteous white yuppies renovating Harlem’s brownstones pushing the original residents out. Greenwich Village once an epicenter of gay culture, dance clubs, cool quirky shops, cutting edge boutiques is now devoid of anything gay, buried in GAP, Polo, Starbucks, Sephora, Michael Kors, more GAP, more Polo, more Michael Kors. (Btw, Michael Kors being a screaming queen doesn’t count.)
The mushroom rate of the ‘space needle’ über high, über rich residential high rises on 57th and 58th Streets will put parts of Central Park’s south end into permanent shadow at certain times of the year. Jackie Onassis is turning in her grave.
Jackie O. would also be horrified to discover that grand Central Terminal is to be encased in super tall, super glassy high rises, therefore dwarfing the spectacular station, reducing it to a needle in a haystack.
Tribeca and Soho once filled with artists and art spaces are now filled with tourists artfully shopping. Times Square has become a 2nd rate shopping mall filled with Elmos badgering your for $5 photos. The lower east side aka ‘the Bowery’ is rapidly loosing any trace of our large immigrant history. It IS filled with our ‘new immigrants’ the young rich, spacey Millennials, trust fund babies and tech company millionaires. Apartments costing $1 million in the Bowery are cheap.
Little Italy is nothing but 6 or so blocks of Italian restaurants trying to hang on while the Chinese and the stores of Soho eat up their once large thriving Italian neighborhood. Fuggedaboudit.
New York’s harbor was once the busiest harbor in the world. Today, with a combination of damage from hurricane Sandy and the sheer greed of the Bloomberg/DeBlasio real estate ‘developers’, in South Street Seaport nothing will be left but a few gratuitous red brick buildings and only one old sailing ship to be now surrounded by a mirror glass ersatz ‘Pier 17’ and two gigantically tall mirror glass ‘luxury towers’ encroaching on America’s historical land mark the Brooklyn Bridge.
Go to Brooklyn then you say? Oh no, that is being gentrified at a hyper speed such has been never witnessed before in America. The foot of the Brooklyn Bridge is now being encased in a towering glass apartment building in DUMBO and the once spectacular view of the bridge from the Brooklyn Heights promenade is now obliterated by a gigantic apartment complex. If anyone would have told me that one day the views of the Brooklyn Bridge will be gone, I’da said you’re nuts.
Further in Brooklyn, whites buying $1+ million town homes in Bedford–Stuyvesant is now the norm. What was once our largest African American neighborhood, now has it’s residents being forced to go back to their Southern roots where they might be able to afford the rent. Meanwhile ultra hipster Williamsburg battles it out with ultra orthodox Satmar Jewish Williamsburg for real estate, who will win is anybody’s guess.
Hey, but Hans you’re safe in Queens. Not so, as my neighborhood fights off the flood of ‘poor upper middle class’ who can’t quite afford the $500,000 to $1 million dollar glass towers of the East River’s Long Island City. One by one we are seeing the affordable shops disappear, street vendors forbidden and a slimey corrupt councilman like Jimmy Van Bramer sign off on real estate deals wiping places like the spectacular 5 Pointz Graffiti Museum and the immigrant’s car-repair shops of Willet’s Point off the map while he brown noses his way up in the mayor’s administration.
If anyone has noticed, I haven’t posted daily “Photos of the Day” since mid June, I needed time to reflect. I will continue to tell people how ‘wonderful’ New York is, but I will also tell them that the city is an illusion, a big grand, sparkling, smoke & mirrors illusion. With my camera I will try to find something worth capturing that someone’s cell phone camera has not. My main concentration will be on researching and writing a book about my Von Rittern land baron roots in Bremen, Germany, and a second book on my Broadway stage door memories.
In the meanwhile, my German guests, while taking my tours say to me, “Sadly, it’s happening in Germany too, capture it while you can.”
I’ll try.

The destruction of New York’s Pier 17 & our seafaring history

south street header

South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 as you see it has been torn down, one of the 100 year old German ships The Peking will be scapped – along with it…any atmosphere that bespeaks the sea. The old buildings are boarded up and ruined from hurricane Sandy and no one has the money to repair them. What will replace it? A shiney big glass box and super high rise. It is an utter destruction and wipe out of New York City’s grand seafaring history.


Premier issue July 28, 1983

Premier issue July 28, 1983


Mondays on Memory Lane: SOUTH STREET SEAPORT, A PROUD VON RITTERN HERITAGE – In 1983 my mother was the private assistant to Clifford Day Mallory of the Mallory’s of Mystic. It is the Mallory family that established Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and has 3 museums named after them there. As a proud New Yorker Mr. Mallory greatly believed in preserving the sea faring heritage in New York’s harbor and helped establish South Street Seaport. Mr. Mallory and my mother Ursula worked with Frank O. Braynard one of the founders of South Street in arranging the design, funding and publicity. They even elicited the help of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. For my mother, working on this project was a matter of great pride in her heritage – my great, great and great grandfathers were sea mrchants, traveling to the far east and Africa to bring back riches to Germany. (My grandmother had the only pineapple anyone had ever seen in 1905 Hamburg, Germany!) Therefore opening day on July 28, 1983 was a proud day for our family and for New York.
It is today, thirty years later, that is a horrible unthinkable day as Pier 17, the steel pavilion that has greeted millions of visitors since opening day, will be torn down thanks to developer greed aided and assisted by our destructive Mayor Bloomberg. A modern sleek glass box soul-less shopping mall will replace it.
He has destroyed more historical districts through zoning variances and under the table deals during Bloomberg’s term in office than with any other mayor in this city’s history. He has done more damage than 911. His crony and  ambitious puppet councilwoman Christine Quinn wants to be voted in as Mayoral candidate in our local primary tomorrow.


South Street Seaport 2013

South Street Seaport 2013

Photo of the day: THE DESTRUCTION OF SOUTH STREET SEAPORT – The ever changing skyline of Manhattan is about to change again, the beloved South Street Seaport also known as Pier 17, thanks to the ever greedy Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is about to be torn down at the end of September. FINAL DAY OPEN IS THIS MONDAY SEPT. 9th.
What will replace it? A big soulless glass box (mall) with a red letter sign atop of it “South Street Seaport”. You wouldn’t need big lit red letters screaming “Seaport” to remind people of where you are if you have removed any vestige of our once great seaport’s history.  One of our old sailing ships the Peking will soon cease to exist for lack of funds to repair it, that will leave us with on single solitary ship in what once was the greatest and busiest harbor in the world. Our Mayor Bloomberg and his cohort councilwoman Christine Quinn should be tarred and feathered and drummed out of New York for destroying our seaport’s heritage.
Anyone But Quinn for mayor!