SOUTH BRONX — Blue crabs from South Carolina have scuttled their way up to the South Bronx.
Floyd Gadsden, a 48-year-old who has been in the seafood business since he was 8 years old, recently started manning a tent by The Hub, where he sells live crabs from down south.
He said the neighborhood has enthusiastically welcomed him so far, even though many people who stop by have never seen a live crab before.
"We've been getting a good response," he said. "People love the quality of the crabs."
Gadsden typically sells the crustaceans for $12 a dozen and said they are much bigger than what you would find at most stores in the borough.
"A lot of their crabs are farm raised crabs: very small, very little meat in them. I like a good meaty crab," he said.
"We go to South Carolina every three days to get fresh seafood," he continued, "so when we bring them up, it's fresh."
The stand is usually open from around 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Gadsden said he chose to set up shop by The Hub because it is one of the busiest places in The Bronx. On a good day, he will sell about 12 bushels of crabs.
Gadsden can easily reel off several different ways to prepare the arthropods — fried crabs, garlic crabs, steamed crabs — and said his favorite method was to steam them and eat them with a garlic butter sauce.
"Being from the south, from Charleston, South Carolina, seafood is a main source of food on the coast," he said. "You'll find many different ways to eat crab."
Roberto Aponte, who helps Gadsden sell the creatures in The Bronx, was incredibly enthusiastic about getting to do so and described his work as "the best job."
"We're happy," he said. "I relate with the people."
Pedestrians walking by the stand on Friday had a range of reactions to seeing them.
Some called out friendly greetings to Gadsden (“Hey, Mr. Crab Man, I hope you have a nice weekend!”), while one girl shrieked in terror and quickly moved away from the crawling crustaceans.
Marvin Benitez, a teacher from Manhattan, stopped by the tent to pick up some crabs and said he appreciates their affordability and their taste.
"My wife just steams them. We've got a steamer," he said. "She makes them in there, and we eat them."
Gadsden said seeing happy customers was the best part of the job.
"[I like] the excitement of them seeing live crabs," he said. "The excitement of them seeing crabs larger than 4 inches."