Oysters were brokered on both the Manhattan waterfronts in rows of two-story boats, unique to New York. Tied up at the eastern base of Broome on the East River and the base of West 10th Street on the Hudson, these boats served as storefront, office, holding tank, machinery storage and packing house, often complete with a wood stove. The barges had a capacity of 700 bushels of oysters, and were accessible to pedestrians and wagons from streetside boardwalk. In the back, oysters were loaded from skiffs that transferred the harvest from fishing barge to brokerage.
Oyster-Barges at the foot of 10th Street, North River.
Illustration from a Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries of the State of New York
in Charge of the Oyster Investigation - 1885.