15 August 2006

Fulton Fish Market

Another snip from an old guidebook to New York:

"Turn eastward now, toward the East River, and continue east and south toward Fulton and South Streets. The streets will seem empty and waiting as the early dawn slowly brings dimension to the black cardboard buildings, but you will never be quite alone; a young policeman walking his somnolent path will greet you, a head will emerge from a manhole and shout "Good morning," a truck driver will tap his horn gently so that you may notice and greet him. When the Fulton Fish Market breaks through the silences with a tremendous roar, it is time to put on your rubbers against the ice spilling and melting all around. (If you've forgotten them, you can buy a pair, or hip boots for that matter, at one of the general stores on Fulton Street; they open at 4 a.m.) From Fulton Street to the Brooklyn Bridge on South Street, under the highway and to the edge of the river, stream stalls on stalls of red snapper, of endless sacks of scallops and scallop-shaped dogfish, of dried slabs of cod in soldierly rows, of silver threads of smelt glittering in gilt cans, of ice nests holding mounds of shrimp and a strayed starfish or two. Weathered men in high boots and heavy sweaters weigh out heaps of fish in suspended 100-pound scoop scales. Two men drag and carry a grouper twice their size, its face still set in the common fish expression of blustering anger. A row of cod, each in its own basket, stands head down with tail fins spread up and out, like precision divers in a water ballet. Out at the very end of the piers rest a few fishing smacks, rusty and worn, their nets hanging limp and dull. At one time, the bulk of deliveries to the market was made by boats, but they have ben supplanted by trucks, and it is now the truckmen who are the tough salty characters while the fishermen become anachronistic shadows." (New York Places & Pleasures, Kate Simon, 1959).


Mayberry said...

Just poking around archives (when I should be working). I love that you have a category called Found Writing!