Mall Is Awaiting Demolition, But Fish Restaurant Reportedly Chugs On

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Pier 17 mall at the South Street Seaport is closed and ready to be torn down, except for one business reportedly has refused to cease operations.

The mall is a ghost town, except for one establishment at the edge of the third-floor food court, according to a DNAInfo report. Joseph Demane has gone on frying fish for a few customers at his Simply Seafood restaurant, as he fights his landlord over a lease that is supposed to continue through 2020, the publication reported.

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While his establishment is surrounded by empty chairs and food stands that have gone dark, Demane continues to operate by his regular hours of 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and says he is not leaving, the publication reported.

The reason he has refused to close Simply Seafood dates back to a 2004 lawsuit he filed along with other shop owners against the mall’s prior landlord, alleging that the company wanted to force them out to make way for a more upscale mall, the publication reported.

The landlord terminated the leases for Simply Seafood and other tenants on the grounds that they were late with bills, and the case has gone on ever since, according to the publication.

Pier 17 officially ended operations on Sept. 9. The mall building will be demolished, and replaced with a glass structure filled with high-end restaurants for which construction will begin next month, officials said.

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The red, barn-like mall had been open for 28 years.

The South Street Seaport was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy and has been struggling ever since.

Since Sandy, the restaurants, theaters, and Seaport museum galleries on the side streets of the seaport have nearly all been boarded up, abandoned or vacated. The Fulton Market building, which like the mall is owned by the Howard Hughes Corporation, also has been closed since the storm.

The mall was spared the worst damage, but some shops were closed for more than a month after Sandy, DNAInfo reported.

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