This is one of my favorite destinations, especially when the weather is warm. The Seaport has changed faces so many times since I've been living in New York. You can still smell the odor of fish if you park behind the seaport and walk your way into the hub; the street has been repaved in cobblestone with shops on both sides, and restaurants offering al fresco dining. What the Fulton Market used to call home is now an immense shopping center with a food court of amazing proportions. I liked it best when it housed a meat market primarily, and then there were some gourmet shops of coffees, bakeries and the like.
On weekends, especially in the summer, there are always innovative acts of one man shows, jugglers, fire eaters, magicians, break dancers, and ad hoc musicians who just beat on a variety of plastic containers and manage to produce rhythms.
One of the greatest acts is that of a Latin dancer with his life-size doll partner, if you're lucky to catch him. He will bring tears to your eyes. Mid-summer, they have a week long craft show with tents which are set up on the cobblestone walkway. There are also free music concerts and dance cruises departing from the seaport. We have been there during the day, and at night. Expect some great seafood dishes, although the clam chowder will never come close to Boston. There are also a couple of sea-oriented stores with gifts from the sea. They also have some amazing natural stones for sale, as well as innovative jewelry made with shells and the like.
If you need brand names, you'll find them here, mostly indoors. Sharper Image, Bath & Body, Victoria's Secret, Banana Republic, Coach Leather, Express; The Body Shop and Abercrombie and Fitch are on the promenade. There is also the Seaport Museum which you can visit, the Nature companpy also has a store here which is fun to shop as there are always interesting things to learn. If you don't want to shop or eat, you can go to the second or third level, sit on a bench and drown in the breathtaking view of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge.