The bright awning of 38 Aquarium doesn’t give away the pricey goods inside.
Perusing the streets of Chinatown, you can find anything from huge filets of bass in the seafood markets to tiny goldfish swimming in plastic bags (among other things). In fact, Chinatown is one of the cheapest place to buy seafood in NYC. But those who see fish as friends–not food–can shop at a number of aquarium stores in the area, like Pacific Aquarium and Win Tropical Aquarium. But for something a little more exotic–and pricier–however, there’s 38 Aquarium on the corner of Broome and Mott Streets, where you won’t find the typical goldfish. The nondescript blue awning proclaiming “aquarium” in Chinese and the fluorescent “OPEN” sign on the door belie the expensive rare fish swimming in the tanks inside. The owners are notoriously unfriendly and many of the signs are in Chinese, so it’ll take a bit of deciphering to find your way around. But the numbers don’t need to be translated. You’ll find a super red dragon fish selling for $2,500, a king kamfa for $950, and a tiger shovelnose catfish for $850. Even some “everyday” fish, like Japanese koi, can cost upwards of $200. With the shop’s niche offering, we’re wondering who the clientele is?
The tiger shovelnose catfish goes for $850.
These smaller fish are a bargain at $30 each.
There are other aquarium shops in Chinatown too, some incredibly cramp and dark. Worth a visit, but beware the prices!