I have off today. I’m lucky. So what do I do to make best use of this time off? I decide to go to a fish market in Bronx that’s only open from 1-7am. Totally normal I know.
A couple days ago, my friend Alex emails me telling about the market, mentions that there’s a 10 POUND MINIMUM on orders, and closes the email to say the following, “I think you’re pretty much the only person in the world that would be interested in going with me.”
He was wrong though. Our friend Myles was ready, willing, and able to tag along as well.
Shortly after, I forward Alex’s email along to my chef friend Oliver (check out Lowcountry if you’ve never been!) to see if he could give us any insider tips, so he hits me back almost immediately saying, “Yea I’ve been, and it’s awesome! I think that 2am is a good time to go. Wear shoes that you aren’t to attached to because they will get wet. When I went it was really cold inside so be prepared for that. Have fun and enjoy!!”
We got scoop on what to wear and when to go. Everything should have been pretty straight forward…right?
After a delicious dinner at Jackson Diner, we head back to Williamsburg to relax and kill time before my 1am alarm to get on the road. 1am hits, I hazily wake up from my nap, and walk out to my living room to gather Myles and Alex. I’m half asleep and Myles requests a Vita Coco, so we walk across the street from me to a 24-hour bodega.
Once inside, Myles shadily whispers something to us in passing. He takes us aside and tells us that Judah Friedlander is here. I walk up to the cashier where he was paying, I give him one of those nods that indicates that I know who he is, but will leave him alone. However, Alex being the aggressive person that he is, walks right up to Judah, says hello and lets Judah know that he knows one of the people who work with him.
What ensued was a 30-minute conversation about the comedy industry that inevitably transitioned outside. Such a nice guy who genuinely wanted our marketing feedback for a comedy album he’s looking to release. As we were telling him about the fish market, he was extremely intrigued, but his rationality of having to be up earlyish trumped his desire to join us.
The walk to the car was filled with jokes about what it would be like for him to join us and much of the car ride was spent discussing all the different ways he could crush it promoting his album to be. We were so enthralled in this conversation that none of us noticed that we had listened to the new Stars album 3 times (it’s awesome by the way!).
We finally get to the fish market riding a high from an awesome dinner, the anticipation from waiting 4 hours, and then a celebrity encounter. When we get inside, it was the exact opposite of what I expected.
I envisioned hundreds of people bidding on whole fish and people rushing all over the place to get the best fish before it runs out. The reality was that everyone seemed to know everyone else, the pace was rushed but laid back, and we were seemingly always in someones way. I felt like an outsider and everyone knew it. And the reason why I have no pictures to share is because felt it to be rude, intrusive, and awkward to do so.
However, despite the underwhelming nature of the place, the sheer quantity, quality, and variety of fish was just stunning. Having just had shark for the third time, I was happy to see tons of shark for sale. Also, it was fascinating looking around all the vendors and seeing how they interacted with the buyers. And on the flip side, it was also interesting to see how the buyers perused the selections and trying to get an understanding of how they made their purchasing decisions.
I don’t regret going because I got to see a unique side of the food industry that most people don’t even know about or wouldn’t care to see. I’m checking that off my NYC to do list for sure! Next up, live octopus stew pot.