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Seafood City: 1943

June 1943. "A scene at the Fulton Fish Market, New York." Medium format negative by Gordon Parks for the Office of War Information. View full size.

June 1943. "A scene at the Fulton Fish Market, New York." Medium format negative by Gordon Parks for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Re: Gordon's work will endure

The 100th anniversary of Mr. Parks's birth will be celebrated this year with exhibits all around the country. Well worth seeing one.


Most mornings I got out of bed and went to the refrigerator.... One day in 1960 I found a whole suckling pig staring at me.... I was puzzled; the refrigerator in our small kitchen had been almost empty when I went to bed.

"Where did you get this stuff?" I asked. "The stores aren't open yet."

"Oh," said Mom blithely, ... "I woke up early and decided to go for a walk. You'd be surprised at what goes on in Manhattan at four a.m. I've been down to the Fulton Fish Market."

Tender at the Bone, Ruth Reichl, page 8

Gordon's work will endure

A long time ago I came across a photograph by Parks of a jazz musician. I think it was Milt Hinton (a great photographer in his own right) walking off stage after a performance. Whatever the details, I became an instant fan of Gordon Parks. While looking for more of his jazz musician photos, I discovered the enormous range of the man's talent. For whatever ‘firsts’ are worth, he was the first black guy to direct a major Hollywood film, “The Learning Tree,” 1969. I sat through the movie about four times to get a glimpse of Jimmy, ‘5 by 5,’ Rushing in a bit part. If we last that long, people will be marveling at Gordon’s work (not sure about Shaft, though)even 100 years from now.


Interesting story of why it was called "The Bank of The Manhattan Company". Not the Manhattan Bank or whatever. Apparently Aaron Burr was a slimy character in colonial New York even before the revolution. He wanted to start a bank in New York (there were no banks in the Colonies at that time). He was turned down several times. Finally, he proposed a company to drill water wells in Greenwich Village. In small print hidden in the text of the proposal, was a provision that would allow the company, to be called The Manhattan Company, to lend money. Since the Manhattan company could lend money that part of the company was call its bank. They never did drill for water.

Joe Mitchell

Again, I refer Shorpyites to Joseph Mitchell's "Up in the Old Hotel", a compilation of four of his earlier books which anthologize his writings from the "New Yorker". It has great pieces about the Fulton and other seaside seafood markets and restaurants.

Mitchell placed third in a clam-eating tournament on Block Island in 1937 by eating 84 cherrystone clams.

The three tall boys in the background are...

The City Bank-Farmers Trust Building, the Cities Service Building and the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building. Well, that's what they were called in 1943. They're still there and still going strong.

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