America’s Oldest Fish Market Is In DC

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,654
    Nestled in a tiny corner of southwest DC is one of the cities hidden gems – the Maine Avenue Fish Market. The market offers the widest, freshest variety of seafood in the city, and attracts residents and tourists from all walks of life.

    Male Speaker: For over 200 years, Washington DC residents have had one place to turn for the freshest seafood in the city, the Maine Avenue Fish Market.

    Female Speaker: Oh! We've been coming here for years.

    Male Speaker: I was here twice yesterday and I am here again today.

    Male Speaker: The fish market also called The Wharf is the longest continuously operated open air fish market in the United States.

    Male Speaker: It served George Washington when he was living in Mount Vernon. His wife, Martha, was buying fish here.

    Male Speaker: The market was started by fishermen returning from the day's work.

    Male Speaker: It's been the day fishing over at the Chesapeake and they bring our boats in and they sell straight off the boats.

    Male Speaker: Visitors to the market enjoy the widest variety of seafood available in the city.

    Male Speaker: Crabs, of course, are a number one item.

    Male Speaker: 25 sizes of shrimp.

    Female Speaker: Oysters in the half shell.

    Male Speaker: Rockfish, croaker. Male Speaker: At this time, I'll get crabs, oysters, Male Speaker: And I will take things back on the metro but are still crawling.

    Male Speaker: The fish market has become an integral part of DC's gastronomy with many chefs depending on it to supply their restaurants with seafood on a daily basis.

    Male Speaker: They pick out their seafood and they make a menu of it from what we have.

    Male Speaker: Despite its popularity with residents, the city tried to close down The Wharf in the 1960s. But vendors clung for the 99-year leases they had signed and refused to leave. The market was pushed up the waterfront and eventually found its current home here in the shadow of the 395 Overpass. The setting reflects the atmosphere below the radar.

    Male Speaker: A lot of people maybe they have heard of, maybe they have seen it when they are crossing the freeway, but they don't exactly know what it is or anything else about it and I kind of like it that way.

    Male Speaker: In a city so often dominated by status, the fish market acts as an equalizer.

    Male Speaker: Now you have got fancy vehicles coming up here, you have got labors coming down here.

    Male Speaker: People from all walks of life converge here in search of the same thing; the perfect catch.