For decades, the Seaport District has been one of New York’s most perplexing neighborhoods. The area seemingly had everything: waterfront access, a central location, a killer skyline composed of the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan skyscrapers, as well as some of the most handsome old buildings in the city. Yet New Yorkers themselves could rarely be found walking the neighborhood’s cobblestone streets.
But this summer, a new chapter began for the Seaport: The neighborhood celebrated the July opening of the Mr. C hotel, a long-awaited project expected to anchor a sweeping revitalization.
Earlier this month, American Express Platinum Card Members were given an exclusive one-night look at the property. After a sunset cruise on New York Harbor, they enjoyed an open-air dinner on the balcony of the Mr. C penthouse, followed by overnight stays in the luxury hotel’s lacquered teak-and-travertine-accented rooms.
The evening marked the culmination of a long effort to rethink the historic neighborhood. Until recently the main draws of the Seaport were chain-style shopping malls and food courts, which primarily attracted tourists. Hurricane Sandy, which flooded the cobblestone streets and displaced many businesses, offered a chance to start afresh.
The new Seaport is characterized by local, indie, and boutique businesses with marquee brands. The Mr. C–the “C” stands for Cipriani–occupies a landmarked Federal-style building where a national discount hotel brand previously operated. It is only the third Mr. C in the world, following a recent opening in Miami and its founding in Beverly Hills in 2011.
As with other Cipriani properties, the Mr. C Seaport features contemporary European décor by Thomas Juul-Hansen, who created the look at restaurants such as Nougatine and Jean Georges.
Bellini, an Italian restaurant familiar to devotees of Harry’s Bar and the Rainbow Grill, opened recently on the Mr. C Seaport’s first floor, and on August 10 its tuxedoed waiters provided a multi-course dinner to the Card Members, while a jazz duo serenaded the neighborhood from the building’s rooftop.
Ignazio Cipriani, the family’s fourth-generation scion who founded the Mr. C line with his brother Maggio while both were in their early 20s, was also in attendance.
In addition to the arrival of Mr. C, developments elsewhere on the waterfront are generating excitement, too—including 10 Corso Como, a beloved Milanese concept store opening in September. Other additions to the Seaport include an iPic Theater, already open and glowing in the distance, and a food hall by Jean-Georges Vongerichten debuting this fall.