With its cobblestone streets and nautical views of the East River, Manhattan’s Seaport District is an anomaly. Flanked by high rises and financial buildings, it calls to mind the quaint port towns of Long Island or even coastal New England. Even with its tourist attractions, it feels slow. When I meet POETS founder and professional skateboarder Gino Iannucci there, I’m reminded that skateboarding was one of the only reasons I’d been to the Seaport save a random dinner or occasional free concert at the pier. With several spots in its proximity including the Brooklyn Banks and a lack of foot traffic and moving vehicles, the Seaport and its wooden benches topped with angle iron became a hub in the late-’90s into the early 2000s.
“You remember how it used to smell skating down here,” Iannucci says about the fetid odor that would waft from the fish markets over to the benches, especially during the summer. “I always liked that it was quiet down here—it was less stressful.”