Thursday, November 17, 2011

Miller Fish Market

City of Strangers recalled our attention to the photography of James Jowers. We'd first seen these shots thanks to E.V. Grieve and Stupefaction, but they bear looking at again--and again--for the fantastic shots of the East Village, its people, and environs in the 1960s.

This one, especially, caught my eye. It's a recognizable location, if you live around here, and the number 91 clinched it.

James Jowers, 1966


In 1968, two years after Jowers took that photo, New York Magazine wrote about the Miller Fish Market. It had been there since 1898 and was presided over by the brother and sister Miller, ages 72 and 81, respectively. They weren't so crazy about the Village View housing project that opened up across First Avenue in 1964.

There's a great shot in the magazine of Fannie Miller, "81-year-old fishlady extraordinary."

New York Magazine

Since 1989, 91 First Avenue has been home to the Dual Specialty Store, a beloved Indian market. This is the kind of change that makes sense--one neighborhood store becomes another, one immigrant group replaces another, it's accessible to all. Shoppers still climb up those stairs carrying bags full of goodies (though the entrance is now on the other side of the stoop.)

A kind of urban equilibrium we don't see much of in today's change.


EV Grieve said...

Long live the Dual Specialty Store.

And it would be nice to have another place like the Miller Fish Market right around here.

City Of Strangers said...

Nice followup. I'd love to see the corner fish market place open up again everywhere, but interesting to see this corner of the small-scale Village survives. You can find it here and there, mostly in ethnic enclaves like that between 5th and 6th.


Marty Wombacher said...

Great post and photos. I love the scent inside the Dual Specialty Store.

Goggla said...

I love Dual, which was Dowell before a fire in 2005. At the time, the firefighters said it was the most fragrant fire they'd been to...all those spices and incense sticks really did make a fabulous smoke.

esquared said...

just glad that Miller Fish Market is now, and still is, Dual Specialty Store. just imagine if that spot becomes a fro-yo, ramen, chipotle, artisanal, ... joint. (hope i didn't jinx that spot by making that comment)

Caleo said...

Not only the scent outside the Dual Specialty, but the lights flashing from the 2 restaurants above. At night it is otherworldly.

JAZ said...

Yep, dead on Jeremiah; this is a nice natural progression of a neighborhood, not the forced gentrification SATC/organic cupcake/artisinal fill in the blank nonsense.

Anonymous said...

upstairs and on the right of Millers was a fabric and notions store. My mom made my clothes when I was a toddler and I'd go shopping with her. Punched tin ceiling, worn wooden floors and every bit of wall space crammed with cardboard boxes, each with buttons glued to the outside to indicate what was inside and tables with bolts of cloth in the middle.

dmbream said...

"Fish monger" is the most common response I hear whenever the "What does the East Village need most right now?" conversation comes up.

randall said...

I am hoping for a good fish monger too. Hopefully one that stocks Coney Island Whitefish.