Book Review,  History,  Non-Fiction

The Fulton Fish Market: A History

The Fulton Fish Market: A HistoryThe Fulton Fish Market: A History by Jonathan Rees
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Years ago, when I lived in New Jersey, I’d take weekend trips into ‘The City’ to explore its nooks and crannies. When I mentioned to a friend that I’m always interested in a city’s history, I was immediately instructed to visit the Fulton Fish Market, which has been in business since 1822. That was good advice!

Nowadays, I’m living in the Midwest writing fiction books set in the late 1800s. One of my contrived cities has a fisherman’s wharf, lots of independent fishmongers, and a fish market. When I saw “The Fulton Fish Market: A History”, I grabbed it without hesitation. The Fulton Fish Market had been my original inspiration for my fictional fish market, and here was a golden opportunity to learn about the business in more detail, and kick my own fictional fish market up a notch in future stories.

I was not disappointed. Especially valuable was learning about Alfred E. Smith, who in 1892 climbed on Fulton’s roof every morning to look through a telescope at the fishing boats. He knew that if a boat was sitting low in the water, it was full of fish. He even knew where each boat liked to fish and could make an educated guess about what type of fish they were bringing in. This advance knowledge helped the company have a game plan in place even before the first fish was unloaded and put up for sale.

That’s the sort of gem a writer goes nuts for.

If you are interested in urban history, or love everything about New York, or are a fishmonger wanting to learn from the best, you’re going to love this book. Oh, and if you’re a writer, I found it first! Mine!

My thanks to Jonathan H. Rees, Columbia University Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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