If the Brooklyn Bridge could fit in her shopping cart, she would have sold it
October 15, 2010 5:11 PM   Subscribe

The fish men see her still, their Annie, in the hide-and-seek shadows of South Street. She’s telling her dirty jokes and doing anything for a buck: hustling newspapers, untaxed cigarettes, favors, those pairs of irregular socks she’d buy cheap on Canal. She’s submitting to the elements, calling out “Yoo-hoo” to the snow and the rain and her boys. Annie and Gloria: Death of a Fulton Fish Market Fixture.
posted by dersins (18 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Max Power at 5:43 PM on October 15, 2010

posted by Obscure Reference at 6:25 PM on October 15, 2010

This article, especially the throwaway mention of her "selling herself," is one of the saddest things I've ever read. Not sure if that was the author's intent.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:31 PM on October 15, 2010

She died of a fever
And no one could save her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
But her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels alive, alive o!

posted by SPrintF at 6:44 PM on October 15, 2010 [9 favorites]

Individuals like Annie make life worth living.
posted by MisterMo at 6:55 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow. That was an engaging read. Annie lived life on her own terms, which is a hard thing to do. I don't envy her, but that article did make me admire her. We all end up on this spinning ball in the middle of nowhere, and she seems like a true survivor.

Somehow I don't think the right will ever hold her up as an example of Horatio Alger initiative, even though she was. (Also, who hassles an old lady over selling black market smokes? Aren't there worse crimes being committed in New York? Oh wait, those other crimes are crimes against people and not New York's revenue department. One must have priorities, I suppose.)
posted by dortmunder at 7:51 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

I lived around the fish market for a few months in 2000 and I remember her — I used to see her in the coffee shop on Beekman. Everyone in that neighborhood seemed to know her, and it was clear she'd been around there forever. I'm glad the Times decided to write about her.
posted by enn at 8:14 PM on October 15, 2010

That quote likely had more truth in it than you realized, SPrintF.

And yeah, honestly, I still think it was a good quote, given this woman and her life. There might be a really good tear jerker movie out of this, but all I can think is how much I would have liked to meet her, and maybe hear some of the stories she had to tell about those she knew, even if she wouldn't tell her own.
posted by strixus at 8:45 PM on October 15, 2010

Yeah, beautiful The Times wrote a loving obit. What a poignant, complex character Annie/Gloria was. It sounds like she cared for and about a lot of people, was accepted on her own terms and chose the life she wanted. Pretty inspiring that.

Condolences to her children and granddaughter. May she rest in peace.

≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈
posted by nickyskye at 8:47 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

It's definitely inspiring that she loved and was loved, that she still had close family, that she lived a life large enough to be repeatedly featured in the press, and that despite doing it much harder than most, she continued to do it. RIP.
posted by Ahab at 10:01 PM on October 15, 2010

I was thinking this story is awfully close to Dicey Reily.

Annie/Gloria, I hope you are cracking the boys up somewhere.

posted by notion at 10:13 PM on October 15, 2010

And this is how I learn they moved the Fish Market to the fucking Bronx. Christ.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:17 AM on October 16, 2010

Thanks for this. It reminds me of a very recent conversation, in which I learned that my great-grandmother had a sister I had never heard of, because nobody liked to talk about her. It sounds like she lived much the same way. "If May needed money," was all they said, "May knew how to go into town and get it."
posted by Countess Elena at 8:00 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

My compliments to Dan Barry. What a tender and moving piece. I've written a lot of obituaries in my day. I've tried but have never come close to this.
posted by WyoWhy at 10:48 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wish they would have said plainly, rather than obliquely, that she was a prostitute. It seems from the story that the profession was her choice, and nothing to be ashamed of. I don't think the convention that sex work must be mentioned in whispers is a helpful one.
posted by layceepee at 11:38 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Moving, sweet, melancholy. Amazing woman.

posted by Splunge at 3:46 PM on October 16, 2010

The internet needs to stop making my cry.
posted by piratebowling at 8:58 AM on October 17, 2010

What a great article on a woman I'd never otherwise known about. Thank you for sharing this.
posted by annieb at 3:44 PM on October 17, 2010

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