Markets


The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point, The Bronx

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

I never got a chance to photograph the historic landmark that was the Fulton Fish Market on the East River in Lower Manhattan, a short walk from Brooklyn Bridge. The market moved to its current location at Hunts Point in the Bronx in November 2005, when I was just discovering photography. While visiting my family in NYC last week, I decided to remedy this situation and photograph its latest reincarnation.

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

The Fulton Fish Market opened in its original location on South Street in 1822. At first it just sold retail, catering to the locals in Brooklyn and the surrounding areas. By 1850, it became primarily a wholesale market, the most important East Coast fish market in the USA, selling to restaurants and seafood retailers. In its first 100 years, fishing boats along the Atlantic Ocean came to the market docks to offload their catch. However, by the 1950s, most of the fish were brought in by trucks rather than directly from the fishermen. Now the fish are flown or trucked in from all over the world.

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

Dubbed “the New York stock exchange of seafood”, “New York City built the $86 million state-of-the-art New Fulton Fish Market to retain the region’s valuable wholesale seafood industry. The Fulton Fish Market handles about one-third of the New York’s total seafood demand. The [m]arket is second in size worldwide only to Tokyo’s Tsukiji wholesale seafood market. [It] handles millions of pounds of seafood daily and annual sales exceed one billion dollars”. ¹

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

Even the trip to the market was an interesting affair. It took me over a week of phone calls to get to the right person to get a press pass. The Fulton Fish Market is a private building with entrance fees and own security, so it was important to secure proper authorization before heading there in the middle of the night. The market is open from 1 am to 7 am, with much of the activity happening around 4. I was told Thursdays were the busiest days, so I decided to arrive there by 3 am on a Thursday. My sister graciously lent me her car and a GPS-enabled phone, so I could find my way to the market and back in the middle of night, an hour of driving each way. New Yorkers like to dig up streets and do what seems like a never-ending street construction, so being navigated by a GPS device saved me from being hopelessly lost in Manhattan and the Bronx. It was interesting driving from the southern tip of Brooklyn through Manhattan and into the Bronx. It was also a treat to drive over the Manhattan Bridge on the way to the market and the Brooklyn Bridge on the way back, something I’ve never done before.

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point

For more photos of the New Fulton Market, see my Portfolio. To license images for editorial or commercial use, please visit my Image Archive.

References: ¹ http://www.newfultonfishmarket.com/history.html and ² http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulton_Fish_Market

The New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point


Saquisilí Animal Market

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Nora and I were closing the week-long Quilotoa loop, a gorgeous hike in Ecuador around the Rio Toachi Canyon. We timed it so we would end up in Isinlivi a day or two before the Thursday animal market in Saquisili. Located off the Pan-American Highway, Saquisili is a 25-minute drive from Latacunga.

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Since arriving in Ecuador, I became hooked on weekly markets in towns along our way. Dynamic, noisy, they usually start at daybreak and dissipate by noon. Saquisili Thursday market did not disappoint. Comprised of 8 markets scattered throughout the small town, “it is mainly for locals from the highlands who come to buy pots and pans, electronics, herbal remedies, livestock or produce” (Wikipedia).

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Even getting to Saquisili was an adventure in itself. The bus from Isinlivi left at 3:30 am. The manager of the hostel we were staying in, another hostel guest and I got up at 3 in the morning to catch the bus. Nora stayed behind to sleep in. We agreed to meet in Latacunga. When we walked to the bus, I was surprised that the bus driver put our backpacks in a storage compartment in the back of the bus, not underneath the bus on a side, as I was used to. I soon learned why. During the 3-hour drive to Saquisili, people would flag down the bus along the way to go the market. They were bringing all kinds of wares to sell, which were loaded in the side compartment. One such stop yielded a rancher who loaded 3 live sheep. I was glad my backpack wasn’t in that compartment. We arrived in town around 6:30, just as the animal market was entering the full swing.

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

By 10 am, many animals were sold and trucks loaded with cows, bulls, pigs, llamas and sheep were emptying out of town. It was time for me to leave as well. I took a bus and was in Latacunga an hour later, just in time for the Mama Negra Festival.

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market

For more photos of Ecuador’s markets, please see my Portfolio or Image Archive.

Saquisili Thursday Animal Market


The Jagalchi Fish Market

Jagalchi Live Fish Market

Busan (formerly, Pusan), South Korea’s second largest city, is known for many things. It is Korea’s largest port city, the country’s commerce hub. It is a busy and popular beach, also Korea’s largest. Of Korea’s largest cities, it’s also nearest to Japan. My interests in Busan were slightly less touristy – I wanted to see an old graduate school friend and explore the famed Jagalchi Market.

The Jagalchi Fish Market (자갈치시장) is Korea’s largest seafood market and one of the largest live seafood markets in the world. Located on the edge of the Nampo Port, it’s a landmark, but often ignored by tourists because of its fishy history. In its modern reincarnation, it is a 6-story well-lit building with lower floors occupied by live fish tanks and dried fish stands and upper floors used for offices. Most of the people selling fish at the market are older, tough-looking women called Jagalchi ajumma, meaning “middle-aged” or “married women”. They are not very talkative and look like they mean business – persuading them to be photographed is a challenge.

Jagalchi Live Fish Market

Jagalchi Live Fish Market

Live fish and shellfish are caught and delivered daily. The selling floor is lined with colorful live tanks brimming with a variety of delicious marine life – eels, squid, shellfish and bivalves. The market is very vibrant, even overwhelming. Reds, yellows, blues – of baskets, fish tanks, and aprons – merge into a kaleidoscope of colors stretching as far as the eye can see.

Jagalchi Live Fish Market

The market and the surrounding neighborhood are lined with seafood restaurants and food stalls, serving raw and cooked fish and shellfish. If Busan is on your itinerary, don’t miss this unique place. It will linger in your memory long after your trip is over.

Jagalchi Live Fish Market

Jagalchi Live Fish Market


The Animal Market – Otavalo, Ecuador 2

“Like every other tourist in Ecuador, we went to Otavalo. Otavalo, two hours north of Quito, nestles in a densely populated, fertile farming region of lakes and volcanoes whose slopes are parcelled up into patchworks of green fields. The town itself is famous for its market. Traders come from all over South America, peddling every conceivable tourist handicraft…”´

“Saturday was market day in Otavalo. In fact, there were three markets in Otavalo. While the tourists  bought their alpaca rugs and ponchos in the plaza, the locals crowded into the market at the other end of town to buy food, jeans and Metallica T-shirts.”´

“And then there was the animal market. Out in a grassy clearing on the edge of town, sharp-eyed farmers and their solid, no-nonsense wives inspected an assortment of cows, pigs, horses and donkeys. One by one, the animals were sold and led away quietly.”´

“Only the pigs seemed upset. Their new owners – and their wives and children – dragged the reluctant swine through the dust by ropes tied around their necks; a tug of war with the pig bucking and digging in its trotters and honking and squealing. It took a half-dozen people to heave a large animal onto the back fo a truck – lifting it by the tail and ears – from where it continued to honk in distress.”´

The Otavalo Animal Market is to be experienced through all three senses. It’s a cacophony of sounds, human and domesticated. It’s the smells of animals and their fear. It’s a sight of hundreds of peoples selling and buying, bargaining and appraising. Or just gawking.

It starts at dawn, sprawling across both sides of the Panamericana, the busiest highway, the central link connecting South American countries. Traffic comes to a halt as people dash across the highway with animals in tow. Large busses stuffed with children, chickens, mothers, guinea pigs, piglets and other wiggling creatures honk their way through crowds.

It was an interesting experiment trying to photograph the people at the market. Most older women would either yell or wave me off. They were categorically against any picture-taking. Men and younger people didn’t mind it so much, but it was the women who were doing most of the selling. I had to resort to shooting from waist, with my camera hanging on my neck strap, while looking innocently the other way.

´The Gringo Trail: a darkly comic round trip through South America. Mark Mann.