History of the Fulton Market Building, Through the Years

In 1821 fire swept through small wooden houses on the block bounded by South, Fulton, Front and Beekman streets. The city cleared the ruined site and constructed the Fulton Market in 1822 for butchers, farmers and fishmongers. Fulton Market was a success, a popular place to be and be seen. Even Charles Dickens paid a visit on a trip to America.

In 1882 a bigger, grander Victorian-style building replaced the original building. The decades took their toll on this second structure, and in 1950, plans were made to replace it with a garage-like structure to include stalls for the fishmongers, now well established along South Street. It seemed the building’s grand days were over.

With the subsequent development of the South Street Seaport in 1983, the fourth Fulton Market was built. It was a return to elegance, in keeping with the historic district. Its design incorporated the fish stalls from the third building and the fishmongers continued operation during construction. In 2005 the fishmongers moved to the Bronx, leaving behind their 1950 fish stalls tucked under the 1983 building along South Street.  These stalls lay vacant until developers decided to sponsor a new local food, farmer and craft market that would bring life again to this section of South Street. Thus, Fulton Stall Market opened in the spring of 2009.

After five successful seasons of providing individuals and families living and working downtown with access to fresh foods and exceptional products, the market is currently closed due to the redevelopment and construction at the South Street Seaport.

-researched and compiled by Naima Rauam

SOUTH STREET ICON: NAIMA RAUAM

Naima Rauam is best known for her watercolors of the Fulton Fish Market, South Street Seaport and New York waterfront. Her interest in the Fulton Fish Market began while attending the Art Students League where a class assignment led her to the South Street Seaport. Naima came to live and work amongst the fishmongers, documenting their life through her work. Night after night she sketched and painted alongside fish market owners, salesmen, buyers, and cutters.

Naima currently exhibits in solo and group shows in the United States and abroad and her paintings can be found in private and public collections across the country. She lives and works in Manhattan and has maintained a studio at the Seaport since 1983. She can be found selling and exhibiting her work each Sunday at the Fulton Stall Market. Find her online at: Art in the Afternoon (Fish in the Morning)