The Fulton Fish Market is the largest wholesale fish market in the United States. It is also one of the oldest. Founded in 1822, the fish market was originally located on South Street in Manhattan. In 2005, in need of a better facility with more modern equipment, the market moved to its current location in Hunts Point in the Bronx and renamed the market the New Fulton Fish Market.
The market also is responsible for about a third of the total seafood demand in New York. Despite operating in the wee hours of the morning (1am – 7am, Monday-Friday), the market is lively and bright. The overall mantra for customers tends to be the earlier, the better – and so, even at 1AM in the morning, the market was flush with people as soon as their doors opened.
Since the market sells their seafood at wholesale prices, it means that you can pay up to as little as 1/3 of the market price at grocery stores. For example, we bought some lobsters at about $8 a pound, wherein at the supermarket they can easily cost twice or thrice that amount. But there’s a catch – be prepared to buy in bulk. While some vendors may sell individual pieces (such as lobsters and fish), others sell their products by the box (such as oysters).
Even if seafood and fish isn’t your cup of tea, I still recommend visiting the market. It was a wonderful experience, as the workers were so friendly and eager to help. Additionally, this is a sight that we rarely get to see, especially as people living in a society wherein so many of our food and goods are pre-prepared and pre-packaged. Just remember before your visit to suit up appropriately. Obviously, it’s a fish market, things get smelly and the floor is perpetually wet!
- John Ortved over at The (Failing) New York Times published an photo essay last year wherein he interviewed different people at the Market regarding their sartorial choices, here.
- Krystal D’Costa wrote an investigative / research article published in Scientific American regarding the old Fulton Fish Market, here.