The “Fort Green” fish market

It’s tough to tell when this photo was taken. The Williamsburgh bank building on the left means it must have been post-1929. But the hat and suit on the dude walking in front of the fish market dates the photo anytime from then through the 1950s.

Whatever year this depicts, judging by the empty lot and broken windows, things don’t look good. Who’d have thought that people would one day live in that bank building and pay million-dollar prices for the view?

fortgreenfish

The “Fort Green” misspelling is interesting. It doesn’t seem like the neighborhood was ever spelled without the e on the end; the nabe was named after Nathaniel Greene, a Revolutionary War general from Rhode Island. But a quick check of The New York Times archives shows that the “e” was often dropped in print in the 19th century. 

Tags: , , ,

17 Responses to “The “Fort Green” fish market”

  1. Mike Says:

    Use the foreground land. Why was it cleared?

    We can tell this is a fair bit north of the bank tower, and just slightly west of Ashland Place. Therefore, my guess is it’s the land that became University Towers. This is probably taken from Myrtle Avenue.

  2. Mike Says:

    Another web reference to this photo says it’s from 1961. That seems about right, given when University Towers was built.

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    Nice detective work–thanks for your insight.

  4. Neil Says:

    Address on the awning says its 210, so if that’s Myrtle Ave, then the StreetView shows what happened to the building:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=210+Myrtle+Ave,+Brooklyn,+NY+11201&sll=40.693523,-73.980555&sspn=0.00715,0.00957&g=210+Myrtle+Ave,+Brooklyn,+NY+11201&ie=UTF8&ll=40.693525,-73.98056&spn=0.00715,0.00957&t=h&z=17&iwloc=addr

  5. Mike Says:

    Where do you see the 210? I can’t find it.

  6. Mike Says:

    By the way, this could also be Willoughby Street just west of Ashland Place, which was also cleared around that time for LIU. But I think if it were Willougby, the surviving buildings on DeKalb would appear closer. My money’s on Myrtle. (It can’t be north of Myrtle, because there would be a hill in the way.)

  7. AD Says:

    Mike:

    If you enlarge the picture, it’s on the awning.

  8. Joe R Says:

    Don’t forget that Myrtle had an elevated line in those days. I remember Myrtle then as a skanky, dark street. I think that Mike is correct with Willoughby Street.

  9. Jennifer Says:

    This was my grandfather’s fish market! Wow! Nice to see it on the internet!

  10. wildnewyork Says:

    That’s amazing, thanks for writing in! Must have been hard making a living in the fish business back then.

  11. jack cardinale Says:

    this was my dad’s first store. the photo was taken in the early fifties prior to demolition. my dad owned the building and was holoding out until his new store up past the park was completed. the address of this store was 210 myrtle ave. he was known at the n.y.c. fulton fish market where he purchased his fish as 210 jackie. this is what the wholesalers would mark on the cartons of fish after he bought them so that the fish haulers would know which truck to cart them off to. University towers purchased the property from the city and put up new high risers and a new run of stores. In 1957 anxious to get back closer to the downtown area my dad bought the building at 160 myrtle ave and opened up a new fish market in a converted bakery. Besides selling fresh fish this store had a 10 seat fish and chips restaurant in the back. when i was a kid i would go there after school on a friday to help him and my mom out. the business grew and he started wholesaling to local restaurants and institutions when the oppertunity to get into a larger space came up he moved the operation to 168 myrtle ave . one block away to an empty johns bargain store which university towers was sitting idle with. that was 1972. this store featured an expanded 40 seat fish and chips restaurant and clam bar.this store was often referred to as the fishgotique. we played disco music to create a party atmosphere. it really drew the neighborhood people in.they were great times. when my dad was ready to retire in 1982 he sold the business to two young korean men and the fort greene fish market name lived on until university towers once again demolished the buildings to make way for even bigger high risers and newer more upscale stores. if there is any interest out there i have several photos of these stores, the people that worked for my dad and of the man behind the forte greene fish market name 210 JACKIE

    • Joseph Meloy Says:

      Hi Jack… Thanks so much for the back story on that photo… I live on Willoughby Street and I love learning as much as I can about the history of the neighborhood…. I would love to see more photos of the stores you were describing, as well as any other photos you may have of the neighborhood… If you’d like, you can reach me at josephmeloy at gmail dot com.

      Thanks!

  12. wildnewyork Says:

    This is wonderful, thank you so much for writing. The neighborhood where your father’s store was located has changed so much. I would love to post your photos of the stores and give the backstory. Feel free to email them to ephemeralnewyork@gmail.com. I’m sure there will be great interest.

  13. Jennifer Says:

    Hey Uncle Jack! Thanks for that backstory.. I didn’t even know all that..so interesting! Disco fish store..ha.

  14. grace n Says:

    yo, jack…blast from the past…been trying to find you…you can reach me at gracenglry at yahoo dot com. would love to catch up…spending alot of time in ft greene these days

  15. MaryAnn Siegel Says:

    Hey Jack, I didn’t know about the Disco fish store. Was that before my time? Love you

  16. Marlise Says:

    Whelp, Jack, Now I also know where all your wild dance moves originated. Marlise

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: