By the time we reached South Street Seaport, by way of a long subway ride through the now-gentrified Fulton Street station, it’d turned stormy. That didn’t grant us the leisure to explore the area, but enough time to take in its essence.
It had, I felt, the aura of a seaside piazza.
Standing there, on the southern tip of Manhattan—an island shaped like the nib of a vintage fountain pen—surrounded by an Abercrombie & Fitch; a food booth selling ramen burgers; an art gallery, I had a hard time picturing it as a bustling 17th century fishing village called New Amsterdam.
This was where the Fulton Fish Market stood. A wholesale bazaar that opened in 1822, the “New York Stock Exchange of Seafood” was the port of entry for nearly every piece of seafood East Coasters once ate. In 1924, it sold 384 million pounds of marine catch.
Today, this place—located along the East River, next to Wall Street—has an impressive collection of restored 19th century commercial buildings that were the hub of New York’s past maritime industry.