Shopping Bag Annie’s Last Stand at Fulton

Today’s NY Times includes a story about the relocation of the Fulton Fish Market to the Bronx, and includes this description of some of the people who work there by Dan Barry.

“Some lights of the market stand before the silvery truck of a man who calls himself Steve the Coffee Guy. Beansie, the union official, is there, smoking a cigar, and Richie Klein, a burly fish salesman, savoring a cigarette, and Joe Tuna, on his forklift, drinking tea. When Joe Tuna glides over curb and cobblestone, his meaty biceps jiggle so much that the tattoos move like cartoons.

They wear rubber boots and soiled sneakers that never cross the thresholds of their homes; clean jeans and fish-bloodied shorts; polo shirts and T-shirts, some torn in the back by the tips of the hooks slung over their shoulders.

In winter, the East River winds blow through you no matter what you wear, so Steve the Coffee Guy will warm himself with a propped-up propane heater, in homage to barrels of flames that once flickered wickedly along South Street. On this summer’s night, though, the muggy air clings like lotion to the skin, and coolness is found at the coffee truck’s icy bed of soda, over which hangs a dated photograph of a beautiful young woman in shorts, briskly walking. The rumor, or the hope, is that it’s South Street Annie, also known as Shopping Bag Annie, that shrunken woman with wild gray hair who strolls the market calling “Yoohoo!” Selling cigarettes and newspapers from her red-wire cart, she is coarse, ribald, ubiquitous: the flawed mother of fish town.”