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Secrets of New York

The ultimate insider's guide to the best-kept secrets of NYC's must-see places and buzzed-about people.

The real currency of New York City?

The real currency of New York City? Fish. (Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ )

food & drink

Secrets of Fulton Fish Market: NYC's true stock exchange

800 Food Center Dr #65B, Bronx, NY

The real currency of New York City? Fish.

In the city that never sleeps, it should come as no surprise that some of the city's most important business transactions happen after midnight and before sunrise.

The true New York Stock market, as members of the New Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx like to believe, happens at this massive 400,000 square foot seafood market, influential to almost as many institutions in the five boroughs.

Fulton Fish Market sells over a billion dollars worth of seafood each year -- that's a lot of clams! If you're eating seafood in the city, chances are it swam through (or chilled in) this spot.

Open to the public, just pay the $5 parking fee and explore this megastore-- in close-toed shoes, of course! And be prepared to change your clothes after a visit, you'll smell like you just hopped off a fishing boat.

Fulton Fish Market was once the premiere spot

Credit: Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, NYPL

Fulton Fish Market opened in 1822

Fulton Fish Market was once the premiere spot to purchase fresh fish and other food. Chefs and home cooks would flock to the bottom of Manhattan along the East River to pick up their supply of fresh food.

Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began over the Fulton Fish Market in 1870, denoting the prominence of the market.

Pictured here are fish mongers and shoppers in 1935, over 100 years after the Fulton Fish Market opened.

Pictured here are Fulton Fish Market workers around

Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In the early 2000s, this 100+ year-old establishment had to move...

Pictured here are Fulton Fish Market workers around 1 a.m. on June 26, 2003. At the time, construction of the new site in Hunts Point had been ongoing and a future move for over 600 daily workers was looming. Development in the area and the increased value of the downtown property are a few of the factors attributed to the move to The Bronx.

Nowadays, few see Fulton Fish market in the

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

Welcome to the New Fulton Fish Market!

Nowadays, few see Fulton Fish market in the light. Almost all business takes place after midnight and before dawn. While the new space features many more modern amenities (air conditioning! a parking lot!) nostalgia still lingers in the fishy air for the downtown days.

The 400,000 square foot facility-- to compare, the

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

The New Fulton Fish Market processes millions of pounds of fish each day.

The 400,000 square foot facility-- to compare, the Empire State Building is 87,120 square feet -- houses 37 unique seafood wholesale businesses. The only larger seafood market in the world is in Japan, Tokyo's Tsukiji wholesale fish market.

The sheer volume and low price of the

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

The fish on your plate probably came from Fulton Fish Market.

The sheer volume and low price of the fish coming from Fulton Fish Market means that statistically any fish you're eating in the city stopped in The Bronx. A chef may say he has a special relationship with a fishing boat, but that boat probably unloads right here.

Vendors will pay a fee to operate a

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

Fulton Fish Market functions as a Co-op.

Vendors will pay a fee to operate a stand, or a share a stand with other fish mongers. Every day, Fulton Fish Market sets a standard price for different fishes. Seasonally, soft shell crabs can be anywhere from a few dollars each to over $70, depending on the availability. Of course, everything is negotiable when you're buying hundreds or even thousands of fish a week to serve at your restaurant...

Depending on season and availability, pretty much anything

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

From Nantucket Bay to the Pacific Ocean, seafood from all over the world is sold in the Bronx.

Depending on season and availability, pretty much anything you can imagine, from Japanese blow-fish to hyper-local crustaceans are found inside this seafood market.

You can barely imagine millions upon millions of

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

There's just so much seafood here!

You can barely imagine millions upon millions of pounds of seafood until you've seen just a fraction of it.

For a large tuna, pictured, extremely sharp tools

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

Fish is butchered on-site.

For a large tuna, pictured, extremely sharp tools are required to break it all up. Plenty of living sea creatures are at the market as well -- large tanks house swimming lobsters and other seafood.

What can't be sold or eaten is recycled

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

Leftover fish is sold as bait

What can't be sold or eaten is recycled into bait to catch more edible fish. It's very sustainable!

Salvatore Ruggiero, the Frozen Seafood Sales Manager of

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

Many fishmongers at Fulton Fish Market are known by their seafood specialties.

Salvatore Ruggiero, the Frozen Seafood Sales Manager of Joe Monani Fish Co. -- which has been in business since 1925 -- knows his frozen shellfish!

Herb Slavin, one of three sons named in

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

Mr. Slavin has been working at Fulton Fish Market for 75 years.

Herb Slavin, one of three sons named in century-old family business, M. Slavin & Sons is 85 years old and has been in the fish industry since he was 15. He remembers Fulton Fish Market when it was down on Fulton St. and is nostalgic for the business and customers downtown. "It's not what it used to be," he said. Despite the changes, he still makes it out to the Bronx every work day, taking his family business no less seriously than when it was what it used to be.

While chefs used to truly pick out their

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

Many fish mongers maintain lifelong relationships with their customers

While chefs used to truly pick out their fish at the downtown Fulton Fish Market, the Bronx location is a big trek for anyone running a restaurant in the city. Chefs now only visit for special occasions or to film specials and often send assistants or associates to pick out the fish for their restaurants.

The Fulton Fish Market is truly open to

Credit: MELISSA KRAVITZ

Anyone can buy seafood here!

The Fulton Fish Market is truly open to anyone! Whether you want shrimp for two or a whole fish for your next big party, anyone is welcome to purchase seafood here. Bring a cooler to put in your car for the drive home! Fulton Fish Market is also planning on launching a retail website for consumers in the near future. Visit weekdays from 1 a.m. - 7 a.m. at 800 Food Center Dr #65B, Bronx, 718-378-2356.

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