Schermerhorn Row

SCHERMERHORN ROW | 12 Fulton Street

Friday thru Sunday | 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

FREE ADMISSION to lobby area, including rotating interpretive displays and activities for mates of all ages.

Access to the galleries by appointment or for Education programs only.  Please e-mail for more information.

The port of New York underwent many prosperous changes, brought by the shipping trade, during the beginning of the 19th century. Peter Schermerhorn, A New York merchant and ship owner, acquired the rights to the water lot bordered by Fulton, Front, South Streets and Burling Slip, and constructed Schermerhorn Row between 1810 thru 1812.

The buildings that compose Schermerhorn Row were built to house storefronts on the ground floors, counting houses on the 2nd level and storage on the upper floors.In 1811 the first businesses set their residence in the Row,  in 1814 Robert Fulton’s Brooklyn Ferry began landing at the foot of Fulton Street, and 1818 marked the beginning of a new way of shipping when the Black Ball Line established a regular schedule departing just off Peck Slip; all this evolution in just under 20 years.

By mid-19th century the seaport was a flurry of commercial activity and Schermerhorn Row housed a new type of business: hotels and boarding houses specifically to accommodate the transient immigrants that disembarked at South Street as well as overseas merchants.

The first hotel to mark this evolution was Roger’s Hotel & Dining Saloon.  In 1850 the warehouse at 4 Fulton underwent major renovations to exclusively house this hotel’s bar, restaurant and rooms.  Towards the latter part of the 19th century, Roger’s would become Sweet’s Hotel.

The Fulton Ferry Hotel is perhaps the most famous hotel thanks to Joseph Mitchell’s piece for the New Yorker, published in his book “Up in the Old Hotel”. Mitchell  along with Louis Morino, owner of Sloppy Louie’s, climbed up the shaft located at 93 South Street to discover the remains of an old, boarded up hotel on the upper floors of the building.

By mid-20th century, much of the shipping trade had relocated to new, larger piers on the west side.  As a result, many buildings had been abandoned.  The businesses that did remain related mostly to the Fulton Fish Market.

In 1966, Peter and Norma Stanford formed Friends of the South Street Seaport with dreams of bringing the age of sail back to the district.  As a result South Street Seaport Museum was founded in 1967.
Although the galleries are not open to the public, the are available for private events. For more information please email or click here.

View historic images of the district from our archives.

images of the district

  1. Schermerhorn Row
  2. 19th century waterfront
  3. Historic Front Street
  4. Fulton Fish Market
  5. Business in the district
  6. South Street Seaport Museum